Most people have the general idea that they should not drive during a night of drinking, but that they will be able to drive the next day. For instance, someone may go out with coworkers or friends on a Thursday night. They still know that they have work on Friday morning, but they’re sure they’ll be able to get up and drive into the office without a problem.
However, you can certainly get a DUI the next morning. You may be surprised by this, but it’s all tied to the way that your body processes alcohol.
Metabolizing alcohol at a rate of 0.015% per hour
When you drink alcohol, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) goes up accordingly. This is why there is a legal limit of 0.08%. It helps the police identify drivers who have been impaired because they’ve consumed too much alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
By the next morning, the idea is that your BAC will have fallen back down to a reasonable level, or it may have gotten down to zero entirely. But that’s not necessarily the case, because your body can only break down alcohol at a rate of 0.015%.
So consider the example above. If you are drinking with friends until late into the evening because you’ve lost track of time, you may know that you can catch four hours of sleep and tough it out through a day of work. But how far is your BAC really going to have dropped in those four hours? It will probably only have gone down by about 0.06%. Even if you were at the legal limit, you would still have a positive reading. If you were well over the legal limit, you could still be impaired the following morning.
What options do you have?
This can sometimes lead to people being arrested on drunk driving charges when they thought they were being responsible. This can feel very surprising, it can have an impact on your employment and can have severe ramifications in terms of jail time, a license suspension and fines that you have to pay. As a result, it’s important to carefully consider all of the criminal defense options that you have.