How Much Alcohol Can You Consume to Avoid a DUI?

Most drivers are curious about one thing – is it possible to consume alcohol and drive without committing a DUI? If so, what’s the amount of alcohol or the number of drinks that will not cross the blood alcohol content threshold? Needless to say, it’s never safe to drink and drive. Even one beer could lead to some impairment. Alcohol affects each person differently, which is why being responsible on the road includes not drinking at all. If you’re wondering how much alcohol can you consume to avoid a DUI, from a legal standpoint, here are a few key facts to keep in mind.

BAC and Number of Drinks

It’s illegal to drive in Arizona with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. For underage drivers, there are zero-tolerance regulations. Anything above 0.00 percent on a BAC test will lead to DUI charges.

The weight of the person is determined when it comes to BAC as it relates to the number of drinks.

Let’s say one drink is the equivalent of 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. A person who weighs 100 pounds will have a BAC content of 0.097 after the consumption of three drinks. The same number of drinks will produce a BAC of 0.048 percent in someone who weighs 200 pounds.

The amount of time that has passed since the consumption of the alcoholic beverage will also impact the BAC police officers will register by administering blood or a breathalyzer test. Alcohol can be detected in the blood just 15 minutes after consuming a drink. For a person that has a BAC reading of 0.08 percent, it will take approximately five and a half hours of no drinking for the reading to go down to zero.

A few other factors can affect BAC readings and make them different from person to person, regardless of the number of drinks. These factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • How fast the alcohol was consumed
  • Metabolism
  • Body fat percentage and muscle composition
  • Whether the person is taking any medications that could potentially interfere with the alcohol metabolism
  • Whether the person has consumed food before or during alcohol drinking
  • Overall health and alcohol tolerance level

Because of all these factors, it is very difficult to determine the number of drinks that will produce a BAC of not more than 0.08 percent. It’s also important to keep in mind that in Arizona, you can be charged with being impaired to the slightest degree even if BAC is below the legal threshold. Thus, you should refrain from drinking and driving as much as possible.

Can You Drink without Getting DUI in Arizona?

There’s a common misconception that you can have a beer or two without getting a DUI in Arizona. This isn’t always the case.

If you’re very thin and you haven’t consumed food for numerous hours, you would still get a high BAC reading after a beer or two. A typical beer has a volume of 12 ounces. The alcohol concentration is four to five percent. An average man weighing about 180 pounds will get a BAC of 0.043 percent. A lighter woman or a person taking medications could potentially get a higher reading.

The same applies to wine. A glass of wine is about 12 percent alcohol. An average man who consumes two glasses of red wine will see a BAC of 0.05 percent, while an average woman will see a BAC of 0.07 percent. This means that some lighter women could potentially be crossing the legal threshold with just two glasses of wine.

So, how much alcohol can you consume to avoid a DUI? The answer is simple – you have to think before you drink. Even if you aren’t committing a violation, you could still expose yourself and others to danger. Always plan ahead and if you’re going to be drinking, make sure there’s a dedicated driver in the group or that you have enough cash for a cab.

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