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Drunk driving: How many drinks are too much?

Many South Carolina residents may think they know when they have had too much to drink. They may not realize that they can be arrested for drunk driving even without having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. If an officer deems a person clearly impaired, under the age of 21 or with children in the car under such circumstances, a charge of suspicion of DUI can follow. The question of how many drinks will put the BAC level over the limit does not have a simple answer.

Many factors influence a person's BAC, each unique to the individual, and each aspect's influence can vary depending on circumstances. The same amount of alcohol can cause different levels of impairment in different people. The alcohol contents of drinks vary, and drinks served at different bars can vary. Other aspects that may influence impairment include age, body type, gender, metabolism, medication, emotional state and more.

An exercise to demonstrate this involved three individuals -- two males weighing 215 pounds and 175 pounds respectively, and one female weighing 150 pounds. They each had the same number of pizza slices, a pint of beer and two glasses of wine. The alcohol percentage of the beer was 4.2 percent, and the wine 13 percent. When they underwent Breathalyzer tests after 15 minutes, their BAC levels were .047 percent for the heavier man, .064 percent for the other male, and .097 percent for the woman.

Considering the above, drivers in South Carolina may want to use designated drivers whenever they consume alcohol -- even in small amounts. However, those who took to the road thinking they were sober enough might have landed behind bars. Fortunately, there are skilled drunk driving defense attorneys available. An experienced lawyer can assess the circumstances of the case, the available evidence and the methods used by law enforcement to determine the level of impairment. Based on that information, a defense strategy can be devised to achieve the best possible outcome.

Source: bactrack.com, "How Many Drinks Does it Take to Reach 0.08 %BAC?", Accessed on Jan.9, 2017

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