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How much can a person drink before getting drunk?

| Feb 1, 2021 | Criminal Defense

A drunk driving charge can negatively affect your life in many ways, both legally and personally. While you should always look for alternate modes of transportation if you plan on drinking, you should also know how much it typically takes to increase your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is a measure of inebriation, and any driver over the legal limit of .08% will be charged with DUI.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how BAC increases and causes impairment. Even one or two drinks can have a profound effect on your ability and perception of the world around you.

Understanding standard drink sizes

Because alcohol is available in varying potency, the sizes for standard drinks also vary quite a bit. If you are drinking whiskey or rum, the standard size is a shot, or 1.5-ounces. With beer, which is less potent, a standard drink size is 12-ounces. Wine, which hovers between beer and liquor in terms of potency, comes in a standard serving size of 5-ounces. When it comes to malt liquor, 8-ounces is considered one drink. Keep in mind that if you consume more than the standard size, your BAC will increase at a faster rate.

How BAC affects driving ability

While you will begin to feel the effects of alcohol after just two drinks, by four drinks you will be at the legal limit. At this point, expect poor coordination, loss of short-term memory, problems concentrating, and decreased reaction time. By five drinks, your BAC will elevate to .10%. This involves slurred speech, diminished cognition, and difficulty maneuvering the vehicle safely. At seven drinks, your BAC will be .15%, well above the legal limit. Significant impairment of vehicle control, balance, and information processing are all likely.

No one sets out on a night of fun with friends and expects to be charged with drunk driving. However, it is a very likely outcome if you drink too much and get behind the wheel.