Under California law, if your blood alcohol concentration or BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, you are considered legally impaired and could be charged with driving under the influence. But, what is important to know is you could still be charged if your blood has any amount of alcohol in it – even if it is well under 0.08 percent. If a police officer who has stopped you or is investigating you after a crash, for example, determined that you were impaired or if you are under 21 and are subject to the state’s zero-tolerance laws or if you are transporting child passengers, you could face a DUI charge even if you are under the 0.08 percent legal limit.
How BAC Increases As You Imbibe
If you track yourself as you consume beer or other alcoholic beverages, you might get a good sense of how your BAC increases as you continue to drink. If you are tracking with a professional-grade, well-calibrated Breathalyzer, you’ll likely notice that your BAC remains within safe limits if you consume one drink per hour. A standard drink is typically 12 ounces of beer, a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
Well, that’s what we call “conventional wisdom.” The fact remains that intoxication begins with the first drink. You should never drink and drive, regardless of how much beer or spirits you have consumed. It’s also important to remember that not everyone is affected similarly by alcohol. Some of the factors that could affect your level of intoxication include but are limited to age, gender, the strength of the drinks, the rate at which you consume the drinks, body type, metabolism, what you’ve had to eat, and hydration. Your overall health including some medications you take could also affect your BAC.
What Should You Do?
If your goal is to avoid a DUI, it is best not to drive if you’ve been drinking. BAC can widely vary depending on a number of factors. The best way to avoid a DUI is to plan ahead. If you are going to be in a location where you are consuming alcohol, be sure you have a way to get home safely. Call a cab, take an Uber, or use one of those smartphone apps that will automatically dial a cab for you.
One good way to avoid driving after you’ve been drinking is to not take your car to the location. Take a cab or a rideshare vehicle both ways so you’re not tempted to drive home. Don’t attempt to drive if you’ve been drinking, even if your home is only a short distance away.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, do not say anything to the officer about where you’ve been or how many drinks you’ve consumed. Be polite and identify yourself. But don’t give any further information without first speaking with your Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help fight the charges and avoid the severe consequences that come with a DUI including jail time, probation, alcohol education classes, fines and installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.