Maryland DUI Attorney Explains Blood Alcohol Concentration

How Many Drinks Can Make A Person Drunk?

If you’ve been out drinking and are faced with the decision to drive home many people are curious to understand exactly how much drinking can lead to legal intoxication. To begin, BAC can be measured within just 15 minutes of a person consuming their first drink. Conventional wisdom, which can sometimes be wrong, says that your BAC level will remain within legal limits if you consume only one standard drink per hour.

What constitutes a “standard” drink?

Everyone needs to keep in mind the amount of alcohol that constitutes one serving differs depending on the type of drink.  For example, 12 oz. of hard liquor is a much larger amount of alcohol than a 12 oz. can of beer, and as a result will have a much greater impact on your BAC. A standard drink is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as half an ounce of alcohol. This means one 12 oz. beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine, or one 1.5 oz. shot of distilled spirits.

So how much does it take to be impaired?

Though there is no exact way to answer how many drinks it takes for a person to be legally impaired (there are simply too many variables that can impact BAC), there are some pretty standard rules of thumb.

If you are around 100 pounds, you can generally only have about one serving of alcohol in an hour before being over 0.08. A man who weighs around 170 pounds and who is drinking on an empty stomach can generally drink four standard drinks in an hour before reaching the dangerous 0.08 limit. Someone weighing closer to 140 would only be able to drink three standard drinks in an hour on an empty stomach before being too impaired to drive.

The benefits of time

Though these are general rules for BAC levels, your precise level will depend a lot on how much time you’ve spent consuming your drinks. If they have been spaced out of a long stretch, hours perhaps, your BAC will be much lower as your body will have had the chance to absorb and breakdown the alcohol.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving offense? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.