How Many Beers Does it Take to Get to .08?

How Many Beers Can Someone Drink Before Being Over the Legal Limit?

In bars and restaurants everywhere, there are many people who are asking themselves, “How many beers, whiskeys, or glasses of wine can I have before I get .08?” There has never been a simple answer to this question, but it is even more difficult now. The craft beer industry has provided amazing options for all styles of beer, but those beers also have alcohol contents that range from 4.0% all the way to 17.5%. All of a sudden one beer does not count as one beer until we know the alcohol content of the beer. The same has always been when determining how many mixed drinks you can have and still be under the legal limit. If there is a heavy handed bartender, then it may only be one drink, but it is so difficult to determine the amount of alcohol in any mixed drink that someone else makes for you. Finally, wine can be incredibly deceptive because of the different shapes and sizes of the glasses used for wine in bars and restaurants. What used to be a standard five-ounce pour is now more rare than ever.

So what does all of this mean for how many drinks does it take to reach .08? The two most important factors to look at when determining blood alcohol content are the amount of alcohol consumed, and the space over which that alcohol is distributed. The amount of alcohol has to do with the above analysis of how much alcohol people actually consumed when out in social settings. The second factor, the space the alcohol is distributed over, has to do with the person’s weight.

Common BAC-Related Myths

There are two common myths that come up when people discuss blood alcohol content:

  • I stopped drinking about 45 minutes before I left the bar and drank water the rest of that time.

Unfortunately, in this scenario the person only allowed the last drink to be fully absorbed by his body before leaving the bar. His blood alcohol content was probably peaking at the time he left the bar because of the absorption time. Water does not decrease a person’s blood alcohol content. Water does help significantly with a possible hangover the next day, but it will not lower a person’s blood alcohol content.

  • I have a high tolerance, so I can drink more and still be under .08.

False. A person’s tolerance to alcohol has no effect on the person’s blood alcohol content. A tolerance is a person’s ability to function at elevated blood alcohol contents. Someone who drinks more frequently will often still be able to function normally after a few drinks. Compare this to someone who never drinks who will most likely start to display visual effects of the alcohol after only one drink.

If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged for Driving While Intoxicated, then call our office at 314.409.2659 so we can discuss your case and answer all of your questions. You can also reach the office by filling out this form, and we will call you to answer your questions.

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