Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Can you drive after one drink?

Everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal and dangerous, yet many people do not think the law applies to them because they are not completely wasted. They are not staggering about after only one or two drinks, so it should mean they are good to drive, right?

Unfortunately, that logic is incorrect. Impairment from intoxication is a complex process that depends on numerous factors. Therefore, it is not safe to say you can drive after only consuming one alcoholic beverage for the following reasons.

Personal characteristics

First, everybody metabolizes alcohol differently. Just because someone else seems fine after one drink does not mean you are. Recognize the effects alcohol has on you, and be honest in your assessment. Also, keep in mind that other circumstances can change the speed of your metabolism, such as when, what and how much you last ate. Always take these into consideration when determining how much to drink and how it will affect you.


Alcohol content

Drinks vary in their amount of alcohol, so take notice of the alcohol by volume (percentage) or the proof (twice the ABV in the U.S.). Downing one drink with a high ABV/proof may be enough to impair you. Even beverages with less alcohol quickly add up if you have more than one.

Impairment over BAC

Remember that impairment, not numbers, is most important in DUI situations. The BAC limit of 0.08% is the point at which no one is safe to get behind the wheel, but most people already experience impairment by 0.05%, shares the National Academies Press. Side effects begin at as low as 0.02%.

These facts mean that Florida police can charge you with DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit as long as you show signs of impairment. With so much at stake, and so much unpredictability, it is best not to drive even after one drink. Get a ride home or wait a couple of hours before hitting the road.

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