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How easy it is to reach a .08% blood alcohol concentration?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Drunk Driving

When you think about people getting DUIs, you probably think about those who drink chronically or who are struggling with a substance use disorder. What you may not realize is how easy it actually is to get to a .08% blood alcohol concentration.

The .08% BAC matters because this is the per-se limit by law. With the per-se limit, officers only need to record the BAC before arresting you for a DUI. You have the best opportunity to fight the charges if you’re arrested while under that limit, though you can still fight if you’re over it.

How easy is it to have a .08% BAC?

It is much easier than you may think to get a .08% BAC. Remember that an average drink usually boosts your blood alcohol concentration by around .02%, and your body processes one drink in one hour (on average). This also doesn’t consider other factors that might influence how fast or slow you process a drink, such as if you’ve eaten or if you have certain medical conditions.

A standard drink is smaller than many people believe. A standard wine drink, for example, is just five ounces. A can of beer, 12 ounces, is also a standard drink. Either of these will raise your BAC by .02% or more, depending on how much alcohol is in the drink.

Usually, it takes between four and five drinks within a short period of time for a person to have a .08% BAC, but it can happen sooner and with less. It’s best not to bet that your BAC is below the level needed to drive when you’ve been drinking, especially if you’ve had more than one.

Opting to catch a ride home with a ride sharing service, friend, relative or colleague is a much better option. Remember, anyone can be charged for drinking and driving, not just those who have chronic alcohol use problems. Even one nice night out on the town could result in years of frustration from a conviction, so err on the side of caution when possible.

If you are stopped and are over the limit, remember that you have a right to defend yourself. Your attorney can help you fight the charges and protect your rights.


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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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