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How Many Drinks Can You Have and Still Drive Safely?

— August 24, 2022

Three beers will put most people, men and women, over the legal limit.

Drunk driving accidents account for over 10,000 deaths every year. According to the NHTSA, DUI accidents are responsible for one-third of all traffic-related fatalities on US roads. All these lives could be spared if only drivers complied with the law. Don’t drink and drive is not just a slogan. It’s a fact. If you want to stay safe and avoid accidents, don’t drink when you know you’ll have to get behind the wheel. 

Unfortunately, a simple analysis of Google searches shows that a lot of people want to know how many drinks would put them over the legal limit. There is no straight answer to such a question. People process alcohol differently. It’s a question of metabolism, weight, how much food you’ve had with that drink, how tired or how stressed you are, etc. 

If you were injured or you lost someone in a DUI accident, don’t hesitate to contact the best drunk driving accident lawyers you can find. The law is on your side and those who don’t understand the words don’t drink and drive need to pay for what they’ve done.

How many drinks will put you over the legal limit?

Most charts used to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) define 1 drink as:

  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor
  • 12 ounces of 5% beer
  • 5 ounces of 12% wine.

If a skinny 100 lb guy has a beer, his BAC will get to .06%, which is below the .08% legal limit but makes him impaired nonetheless. On the other hand, a strong 180 lb man having the same one beer before driving will have a .03% BAC, meaning he’ll be only slightly impaired.

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Image Courtesy of Natasha Kapur

Three beers will put most people, men and women, over the legal limit. A 100 lb woman’s BAC will shoot up to .20%, more than double the legal limit. Only a heavy-set 240 lb man might be able to handle three beers and still maintain his BAC within limits, .07%.

Can you sue someone for a DUI accident if their BAC is below the limit?

This is another thing most people don’t understand. A driver can be charged with DUI even if a breathalyzer test shows a BAC of less than .08%. He or she may refuse to take the test and still face charges. Most states have laws allowing a police officer to charge a driver with DUI based on their own judgment or the results of field sobriety tests.

If you’re involved in a DUI crash, watch closely the interaction between the police and the drunk driver. Keep in mind that even if the drunk guy will face criminal charges, you must file a civil lawsuit to get damages. 

Your accident lawyers will want to know what happened at the scene after the accident. You should also get the names and contact info of other people present. If they can testify that the other driver had slurred speech, glassy eyes, and difficulty walking in a straight line, this will strengthen your case considerably.

Why do I need a lawyer if I was injured in a DUI accident?

The fact that the other driver was drunk, does not mean he was automatically to blame for the crash. Whether you file a claim against their insurance or you go to trial, you’ll need to prove that they were responsible for the crash. Some states follow the contributory negligence rule and you risk losing the right to recover damages if it is determined you are even slightly to blame for the accident. 

If you’re looking for a drunk driving accident lawyer or need professional help with other legal matters, you may be wondering “Where can I find Attorneys Near Me?” Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away. Just follow the link to go to the extensive database on Select your state and your city, and schedule a free consultation with a trustworthy lawyer in your area. 


California Department of Motor Vehicles – Alcohol and Drugs

NHTSA Drunk Driving

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