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How fast does your BAC decline after you’re done drinking?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

People sometimes get pulled over for drunk driving when they assumed that they were sober. Maybe they had been out drinking with friends, but that was an hour ago. They spent time drinking water and eating a meal. They thought they would be sober again and able to drive, but it turns out that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is still over the legal limit.

The key thing to remember is that your BAC only declines at a rate of 0.015% per hour. Your body can only metabolize alcohol so fast, so there’s no real way to increase this rate. The only thing that can help you become sober again is time.

It may take more time than you think

As you can see from that rate of decline, alcohol stays in your system for a long time. For example, imagine someone whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.09%. That is slightly over the legal limit of 0.08% that applies to most drivers, although there are even lower limits for underage drivers or commercial drivers.

But in this hypothetical scenario, it would take six hours for that driver’s BAC to go from 0.09% all the way back down to 0%. People who spend an hour drinking water or coffee aren’t going to see much change in their BAC at all. In fact, there are even situations where people will go to sleep for the night and wake up with a positive amount of alcohol still in their system because it just hasn’t been long enough yet.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to very serious DUI charges. If you find yourself in this position, you need to know about all of your legal defense options.