You planned on going out to a party with a few friends and having “one or two” while there. You stuck to your plan, felt good, but not drunk, throughout. The party ended, and it was time to leave, when you thought about whether you were too drunk to drive. You decided that you weren't, pulled the keys out of your pocket, and put them in the ignition. Next thing you know, there are police lights in your rearview mirror, and you're coming to a stop on the side of the road.
You know that taking a breathalyzer and blowing above the legal limit can give law enforcement and prosecutors more ammunition to convict you for driving under the influence (DUI). You consider refusing to take the breathalyzer, but are aware that there are significant penalties for doing so. You know that the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%, but now you're realizing that those are just numbers. What does a 0.08% feel like? How can you know whether it's safe to drive legally, before getting pulled over by a police officer and put through BAC testing?
The short answer is that you can't know precisely what your BAC is before taking a blood alcohol test. However, there are methods of estimating what your BAC is, using any drunk symptoms you're showing, as well as how many beers you had, when, as well as your body type. Needless to say, these indicators are far from precise, but they can be used to give yourself an idea of whether you'd likely be able to pass a blood alcohol test, if requested to take one.
While everyone shows different signs of drunkenness, some levels of BAC generally come with certain symptoms:
- 0.01 – about 0.06: You tend to feel relaxed, with a sense of well-being. Your thought, judgment and coordination start getting impaired
- About 0.06 – about 0.10: You start losing inhibitions, and showing signs of extroversion and openness. Your reflexes, depth perception, peripheral vision and reasoning start becoming impaired
- About 0.11 – about 0.20: You start experiencing emotional swings, becoming really sad or angry, often without warning or reason. Your reaction time and speech are affected
- Above 0.21: You start experiencing blackouts, and your basic motor skills are impaired
You can also guess your BAC by knowing what you've had to drink, and how long you've been drinking. There are numerous websites that will estimate your BAC based on how many drinks you've had, how long you took to drink them, as well as your gender and your weight.
Again, these ways of determining your BAC are often inaccurate. However, without being able to take a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol test, they're often the only way to estimate your BAC level.
If you want further information about DUI charges, or need to speak to a DUI defense attorney, contact the law office of Kevin Trombold at 206-971-0067.