How Soon After Drinking Can You Safely Drive a Motor Vehicle?

On Behalf of Law Offices of Thomas Maynard Jan. 8, 2021

Alcohol is a popular social lubricant that reduces your inhibitions and stress levels. Unfortunately, it also affects your decision making and your reaction times, making you a less safe driver.

The best option for those who enjoy alcohol is to avoid getting behind the wheel at all after drinking. However, that may not be realistic for you. How long should you wait after drinking before getting behind the wheels in order to avoid driving under the influence (DUI) allegations?

The Average Person Can Metabolize One Drink per Hour

It takes your body a while to break down alcohol and return to a state of sobriety. For most people, a single drink will require about an hour to fully metabolize. That means one beer, one glass of wine or one small serving of liquor.

A large glass of beer or wine or multiple spirits mixed together may represent multiple servings of alcohol in a single drink. It’s important to know how much alcohol is actually in your beverage in order to determine how long it will take you to metabolize the alcohol.

Don’t Bet Your Safety and Freedom on Your Body’s Speedy Metabolism

That the one drink per hour is a rough estimate. There is no absolute way of knowing how quickly your body can break down alcohol when drinking. Everything from your age, weight and gender to your current health condition and what you’ve eaten for the day influence how quickly you get alcohol out of your system.

It’s generally best to err on the side of caution after drinking. However, those who wind up charged with a DUI when they know they weren’t actually drunk may have options for defending themselves, such as challenging chemical test results. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.