It’s a common question with a surprisingly subtle answer: How many alcoholic drinks can you consume before you’re over the Los Angeles DUI limit of 0.08% BAC – the cutoff point for misdemeanor DUI, as defined by the California Vehicle Code?
As you might remember from driver’s ed, you can roughly calculate the answer based on your gender and body weight. Key variables involved include your weight, the number of drinks you consume, and the time that elapses between drinking.
The following assumptions are usually correct:
• The heavier you are, the more you’ll need to drink to become intoxicated;
• The more drinks you consume, the more intoxicated you’ll be;
• The more time that elapses after you start drinking, the less intoxicated you’ll be, since your liver will have more time to process the alcohol and clear it from your system.
As a general gauge, this system does a pretty good job. But these estimates are really just ballpark figures. You can follow the system to the letter and STILL wind up with a high blood alcohol concentration and a DUI on your record.
In some ways, this system is similar to the one that your doctor might use that shows the relationship between your BMI (body mass index) and health. In general, you want to avoid being obese – just like you want to avoid consuming massive amounts of alcohol and spiking your blood alcohol level above 0.30%.
But there is a lot of room in the middle. For instance, studies have shown that people who are moderately overweight may actually live longer than overly thin people. Likewise, a bodybuilder who has very low body fat and a lot of muscle may have the same BMI as someone who is very unmuscular but who has a lot of visceral adipose tissue (not a good thing). So just looking at BMI alone doesn’t give you enough good information. Likewise, just looking at the amount of alcohol you consume and the amount of time in between drinks may not give you enough good information. Other meaningful factors could include:
• Whether you’re a man or woman (men and women process alcohol at different rates);
• Your general alcohol metabolism;
• Whether you’ve consumed other substances, such as prescription drugs or marijuana;
• Whether you’re familiar with the vehicle that you’re driving and the roads that you’re driving on;
• Whether you’ve consumed food or not;
• Whether you’re sick or not;
• Whether you’re fatigued, stressed, angry – or well-rested, calm, and in good spirits.
The moral is that trying to calibrate an ideal formula for everyone to prevent DUI driving is a bit silly and naïve; it ignores all the complexities of human biochemistry and the complex dynamics of safe driving.
For help dealing with your Los Angeles DUI arrest, look to the Harvard Law School educated Attorney Michael Kraut and his team at the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor with tremendous experience – in his capacity as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles, he racked up a very impressive 99-plus percent success rate at jury trials.