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Reaching .08%: What it takes

People who choose to drink and drive put themselves and others in danger. For that reason, many people choose to carry their own personal Breathalyzers or to get rides home from events or locations when they plan on drinking.

Sadly, not everyone plans ahead, which is why some people end up facing DUI charges. Once your blood alcohol content reaches .08%, you can be charged with driving under the influence in New York. You may also face charges for a lower BAC if you appear impaired or intoxicated during the traffic stop.

What does it take to reach a BAC of .08%?

What it takes to reach .08% is different for everyone. What leads to one person having a BAC of .02% might lead to another having a BAC of .05%.

A standard drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce glass of beer or a short (1.5 ounces) of distilled spirits. Once you have one of these drinks, you should wait 15 minutes before checking your BAC. At that time, the drink will be in your system, so you should be able to see how much it has affected you.

The conventional suggestion is to drink no more than a single alcoholic drink per hour to stay under .08%. However, this isn't going to be true for everyone, depending on how your body metabolizes alcohol. Some of the factors that influence intoxication levels include:

  • Gender
  • Emotional state
  • Age
  • Whether or not you've eaten
  • The strength of the alcohol
  • Your fat or muscle content
  • How hydrated you are
  • Your tolerance to alcohol
  • Whether or not the drink is carbonated

...and many others.

It's normal for women to get intoxicated much more rapidly than men. People with less body mass are also more likely to become intoxicated on less than a taller, heavier person.

The only way to be sure that you are under the .08% limit is to bring a portable Breathalyzer with you. Even if you are under the limit, remember that any alcohol in your system can impair you and should be considered before you decide if you can drive.

In most cases, the safest thing to do is to avoid drinking and driving, even if you have only a single drink. If you do have to drive, make sure you wait an hour for each drink you've had before you get behind the wheel at the very least, so that you have the best chance of being sober behind the wheel.

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