You have probably encountered this situation at least once in your life: You are out having a good time, throwing back a few beers, then it comes time to head home. You may feel confident that you can drive, but alcohol can often instill a false sense of confidence and you may not be one hundred percent sure if you should drive. Since you probably don’t carry around a breathalyzer, what can be done in this situation? Rather than running the risk of getting a DUI or worse, getting into an accident, you can follow these few tips to determine your blood alcohol level.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for persons over 21 years old in Massachusetts is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, the legal BAC is 0.02%. Commercial vehicle drivers must stay within a legal limit of 0.04%. Driving with a BAC higher than those indicated can result in a fine, license suspension, and even jail time. Drunk driving is a serious offense that can put lives in danger.

As a general rule, it takes the body about an hour to fully process a drink. A single drink is considered one 12 ounce beer, one 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof liquor, or 5 ounces of wine (a typical wine glass filled half way). You can use the adage of “one drink per hour” as a broad rule to determine if you are beyond the limit. However, everyone’s bodies process alcohol differently, depending on age, gender, weight, and a variety of other factors. Reference these charts from B.R.A.D. 21 to give you a more accurate estimate of your BAC. There are even new smartphone apps that will help you calculate your BAC.

Certain factors can sway a breathalyzer test, so be sure to avoid the following in order to avoid skewing the results or raising your BAC.

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Using mouthwash
  • Having a drink within an hour of driving. (Your BAC will continue to rise as the alcohol is processed through your system. It is best to allow time for your BAC to go down before stepping behind the wheel.)
  • Combining alcohol with other drugs
  • Not eating a sufficient amount before/after drinking

Please note that none of these ways of determining your BAC are completely accurate, so it is best to always err on the side of caution when drinking before driving. The best way to ensure that you are good to drive is to avoid consuming any alcohol before driving.

If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, please contact Revelli & Luzzo. We are criminal lawyers that are here to fight for your rights.