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For many of us, the holiday season is about spending some quality time with friends and family. Often, this involves meals, get-togethers and parties, be it with family members, friends or colleagues. However, many of us also travel short and long distances to be with loved ones and the people we care about during the holidays.
This often means that we need to get behind the wheel after attending a party or gathering. In such circumstances, it is important to know and understand your tolerance for alcohol and when you might have crossed the legal line in terms of imbibing a little too much.
As DUI defense lawyers, we represent those who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Under California law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence and the law says you can’t drive when you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
So, you may wonder what this means in terms of how many drinks you can safely have during a holiday party.
The answer could vary depending on your body weight and gender. For example, a 140-pound man can become impaired before he finishes his third drink while a man weighing 200 pounds may become intoxicated on his fourth.
If you are a woman weighing 100 pounds, you could become intoxicated after your first drink. A woman weighing 200 pounds could become impaired on her fourth drink.
There are several factors that could affect your blood alcohol concentration or BAC. This is essentially the measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood.
While you could keep track of your BAC based on your weight, gender and general tolerance for alcohol, you would still be making a wild guess. There are a number of other factors that affect your BAC including:
Age: The older you are, the more intoxicated you could become as you consume more alcohol.
Speed of consumption: When you consume alcohol faster, the faster your BAC will increase.
Strength of drink: The more alcohol your beverage contains, the more of it will likely end up in your blood.
Fat and muscle: It is important to understand that the more muscle you have, the higher your tolerance for alcohol. This is because fatty tissue lacks the capacity to absorb alcohol. This means that the alcohol goes straight to your bloodstream and stays there until your liver can break it down. So, if you are a person with more body fat, your BAC is likely to be higher.
Medications: Some drugs don’t interact well with alcohol. These may be prescription medications or over-the-counter medicines you may be taking for a cold. Before you take these meds and consume alcohol, check with your pharmacist or doctor for possible interactions.
Food: If you consume alcohol without eating adequately, your BAC is likely to be higher than someone who has consumed food before drinking. The reason for this is when you eat, your blood absorbs less alcohol.So if you plan on drinking at a holiday party and drive later, make sure you are getting more than enough to eat and that you finish your last drink at least a couple of hours before you leave.
If you plan on driving, the best strategy is to designate a driver, take a cab or a ride share service or stay at the party location. This could help save you from a DUI arrest and the expense of defending drunk driving charges. If you are facing DUI charges, contact our experienced DUI lawyers who can help you successfully fight the charges.