How do you now when you've had too much to drink? It can be as simple as using a little math.

Although the best advice is to not drink and drive, that's not the law. Instead, the law only prohibits you from driving when you were "intoxicated". While there is more than one legal definition of intoxication, one of them is based on your blood alcohol concentration. If it's over .08 - when you are driving - your are too drunk to drive.

I don't need to tell you that you don't want to find this out to late. So, the question is whether there is a way to calculate your blood alcohol level, before you decide to drive. The good news is there is - although it certainly isn't foolproof. Here's a chart, which is one way to get a rough estimate:

Blood alcohol chartThe general rule is that your body eliminates approximately an ounce of alcohol every hour. That depends on a lot of things, including your sex and weight. It also depends on what you have in your stomach - the more food, the slower your body will process the alcohol.

The chart is fairly simple to use. Calculate the number of drinks, determine whether you are male or female, and then plug in your weight. 

You then take that result, and subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking; for example, you would would subtract .03 for 2 hours. If you had 2 drinks over 2 hours, and you were an 180 pound man, your estimated level would be .04 - which would be below the legal limit.

It's important to remember this only an estimate, so use it your own risk. 

There's something else that's important to consider. Just because your actual BAC may be under .08, that doesn't mean you aren't going to be arrested. At a minimum, you might end up taking a trip to jail, where you will be offered the chance to take a breath test or blood. And even if it shows your below the legal limit, you can still be arrested. There are several reasons for that, but for now just know that it can happen.

It's probably also worth noting that if you have trouble doing this in your head, you're probably too drunk too drive.

Be safe - don't the find out the hard way - and the expensive way - that you should have found another way home. The surest way to avoid an arrest is to not drink and drive. 
 

If you're this too later, don't worry. There are still options available to you. Breath testing is far from an exact science and there are ways to point out the problems. There are other ways to attack a case also, which and experienced DWI will know how to do. Don't wait until its too late. Call now and schedule an appointment to discuss your case and let us prepare a battle plan to move forward.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.