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Football season woes: Avoid a DWI after the game

Football season is great. You get to go out to the local sports bar with your friends. You enjoy a few beers while you're watching the game, and you generally have a great night.

The trouble doesn't start until you try to make your way home. Depending on the length of the game and how much you and your friends have been drinking, it may not be safe for you to drive home.

Calibration is important for breath tests

You went out for drinks, and you felt fine. You had only three drinks over the course of an hour or two, so you felt like you'd be able to drive and get home without trouble. Of course, there's always the risk that your blood alcohol content is too high, but since you didn't feel buzzed, you thought it would be fine.

Around half way back to your home, you started to feel the impact of your last drink. It resulted in you swerving a little bit, but when you realized that you were potentially impaired, you pulled to the side of the road.

If you enjoy mixed drinks, you could be at risk of a DWI

Your blood alcohol concentration is directly linked to the amount of alcohol you have in the blood. Someone who has a BAC of 0.10% has one part of alcohol per every 1,000 parts of blood. For every hour you've gone without drinking, you can reduce your estimated BAC by 0.015%.

The way that your drinks affect you will vary based on numerous factors. One important note is that carbonated drinks affect BAC significantly. For example, if you have a carbonated mixed drink, the carbonation leads to the alcohol being absorbed more quickly.

How long does it take to reach a .08% blood alcohol content?

Drinking is often a way people use to socialize - and you yourself may enjoy it. You don't have any problem with it, and you feel like you know how many drinks you can have before it wouldn't be safe to drive.

Thinking you know and knowing are two different things, though. It only takes a blood alcohol content of .08% to be arrested for a DWI on the spot, so it's important that you don't drive when you've been drinking.

What you should do during a DWI traffic stop

You're cruising down the highway, enjoying yourself and suddenly you see police lights in your rear-view mirror. You hope that the officer isn't coming after you, but you have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.

If you find yourself on the side of the road as part of a DWI traffic stop, here's what you need to do:

  • Stay in your car: If the officer wants you to get out, they'll let you know. Opening your door before the officer arrives at your window gives them reason to believe their safety is at risk, which can amplify an already touchy situation.
  • Do not consent to any searches or seizures: You do not have to provide the cop with consent to search your vehicle or person. Unless they have reasonable suspicion to search you, you should not consent to a search.
  • Don't say too much: The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent. Invoking this right can prevent you from self-incrimination. You are under no obligation to answer a cop's questions, including questions about your residence, plans for the day or criminal history.
  • Stay calm: If you're put under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important to remain calm. Not only does this help prevent additional criminal charges, such as resisting arrest, but it allows you to more easily take mental notes of what's happening to you.

Why do teens have a BAC limit of 0.02?

Having a teen driver can be a challenge. Insurance rates are usually higher, and you may worry that your teen will damage a new car or experience failure problems from an old car. You may have to set curfews or mileage limits. There is a lot to manage to ensure safety.

Another factor you should be aware of is drunk driving, especially if your young driver recently started college, where partying is notorious. In all states, drunk driving is illegal. Adults who can legally drink cannot have a BAC over 0.08%, whereas those who are underage cannot exceed 0.02%. That may seem like an arbitrary number, but the lower limit exists for good reasons.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, everyone is different

Autumn offers many opportunities for enjoying alcohol with friends and family members. Perhaps you love getting together with the boys to tailgate before a college football game. Or, maybe you host an annual harvest festival, complete with delicious spiked cider. Either way, you should know how your body handles alcohol. 

If you drink this fall, you must take steps to keep yourself both safe and out of legal trouble. If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.08%, you may face stiff DWI penalties. Yet, you may also wonder how long you must wait to drive after consuming beer, liquor, wine, cider or seltzer. 

How much does a Missouri DWI affect auto insurance rates?

When Missouri authorities charge you with drunk driving and that charge winds up leading to a conviction, you can expect to have to pay a substantial amount of money in fines and other expenses relating to your action. Even if it is your first time receiving a driving while intoxicated conviction in the state, you can plan on it costing you a substantial sum. Furthermore, some of the DWI-related expenses you face will continue to plague you even after you begin driving again.

For example, you can expect to pay substantially more for automotive insurance coverage in Missouri once you have a DWI conviction on your record, Insure.com reports, even if you are a first-time DWI offender. Just how much more will automotive insurance typically cost you once you have a Missouri DWI in your driving history?

Do hot wings make you drink more?

Few things in life are better than meeting your buddies for some beer and hot wings at your favorite sports bar. After all, polishing off some wings while you watch the Cardinals beat the Cubs in extra innings is one of life’s simple pleasures. Still, combining beer and hot wings may make you drink more than you otherwise would. 

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08% may land you in jail. If you are operating a commercial vehicle, a BAC over 0.04% violates Missouri’s drunk-driving laws. While you may have a good idea of how much alcohol you can consume without running afoul of the law, eating certain foods may cause you to inadvertently consume more alcohol. 

What you need to know about medication and field sobriety tests

As you likely know, drinking and driving in Missouri is a bad idea. If officers discover that you have a blood alcohol concentration above the 0.08% legal limit, you are likely to face a variety of consequences. Still, the medication you take may interfere with the methods officers use to identify impaired drivers. 

Modern medicine offers physicians a variety of ways to treat many illnesses and injuries. Whether you take prescription or over-the-counter medication, though, you should think about how it may affect your driving ability. You should also understand that certain medications may make passing a field sobriety test nearly impossible. 

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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