2nd July 2021
Oftentimes when people go out drinking, they question how many drinks they can have before it’s still a good idea to drive home. The answer to this question of whether or not you can drive home after two alcoholic beverages isn’t cut and dry.
Each person’s body is different. Therefore, the amount of alcohol a person can safely consume before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle varies, depending on a few factors.
Some people believe that you shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had anything to drink. And others believe it’s okay to have one or even two drinks before driving yourself (or others) home. Frankly, it’s much more complicated than this.
How Much Can I Drink Before It’s Illegal to Drive?
The amount of alcohol you can consume before it’s illegal to drive depends on many different factors, which we’ll go over in the next section. Without thinking about the number of drinks or your specific body weight and how other factors play into your ability to get drunk, it’s important to remember what the laws are regarding drunk driving.
In North Dakota, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08%. The higher your blood alcohol concentration gets, the higher the fines and jail time are. For example, if you’re arrested with a BAC of .16% or over on your first offense, you’ll incur a fine of $750 and two days of imprisonment. A BAC above .08% but less than .16% carries a fine of $500 and zero jail time.
Factors that Influence How Intoxicated You Are
As previously stated, alcohol affects everyone differently based on a variety of different factors. Those factors include:
How Quickly You Drink
If you drink two drinks quickly and then attempt to drive home, your BAC will be much higher than someone who has had two drinks over the course of a few hours. When someone drinks quickly, the liver is unable to keep the pace. This means that more alcohol will circulate in the bloodstream until the liver is able to keep up.
Height and Weight
The taller you are and the more you weigh play heavily into how quickly you get drunk after consuming alcohol. A smaller person has much less blood, meaning their BAC will be higher after drinking less than someone who is taller or weighs more. Someone who weighs more has much more blood. And it will take more alcohol to increase their BAC.
Whether or Not You’re On Medication
There are some types of medication that, when mixed with alcohol, lead to a higher BAC. This includes most antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and many other classes of drugs. These drugs not only make you drunk faster. But they can also be incredibly dangerous to mix with alcohol.
How Often You Drink
If you drink more frequently, you can build up a tolerance to some of the side effects of being intoxicated. This can make it seem like you aren’t as drunk as you are. However, this doesn’t mean that your BAC is lower than average. Even if you have a high tolerance, you should take caution when drinking and driving. Just because you don’t feel drunk when getting behind the wheel of a car doesn’t mean you aren’t.
Whether or Not You’ve Eaten
If you haven’t eaten all day, getting behind the wheel after two drinks is probably not a good idea. When you don’t eat before drinking, you get drunker much faster. And the liver isn’t able to keep up with the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. This can result in a higher than average BAC. If you’ve eaten recently, your body will be able to faster metabolize the alcohol, meaning you won’t get drunk as quickly, and your BAC will be lower.
So, Can I Drive After Two Drinks?
With that information in mind, it’s important to remember that it can still be difficult to tell whether or not two drinks are too many. Before getting behind the wheel of a car, you should be confident in your ability to drive safely. If you don’t feel that that is possible after two drinks, don’t do it.
What to do if you are Charged With a DUI
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, you should consider hiring a DUI defense attorney to represent your case. Aside from ensuring that your rights as a defendant are protected, we will advocate on your behalf for the best outcome. In some cases, we’ve even been able to get a case thrown out completely. If your case isn’t thrown out, an attorney can help ensure that you get the lowest sentencing possible for your DWI offense.
For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney, please contact our experienced team of attorneys at Sand Law. You can contact us online or at 701-609-1510.