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Just how fast can you sober up?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2023 | Criminal Law |

When you’re out on the town or out with your friends, it’s very easy to lose track of the number of drinks you’ve had over the course of the evening – until you realize that it’s time to head home.

That prompts a lot of folks to try to “sober up” as quickly as they can, knowing that it’s both dangerous and illegal to drive when they’re intoxicated. Unfortunately, there’s only one sure trick that will help you sober up, and it’s probably not what you think.

Get some rest, because time is the only thing that actually works

Forget about all the old tricks you’ve heard that are supposed to help folks sober up quickly –  like cold showers and hot coffee, greasy meals and glasses of water – the only real thing that works is time. 

If you’re a heavy drinker, you may feel sober faster than someone who only occasionally indulges, but that’s only because you’ve adapted to the effects of the alcohol over time. In reality, everybody’s blood alcohol content (BAC) tends to decrease at about the same rate: 0.015% per hour.

This means that if your BAC is 0.10% at 10 p.m., it’ll only be about 0.085% after an hour – and that’s still above the legal limit. (It’s also wise to remember that your BAC can actually rise for a while after you stop drinking as the alcohol makes its way from your stomach to your bloodstream.) You may need to spend several hours just sipping a cola or “sleeping it off” for your BAC to reach the point where you’re truly safe to drive.

If you’ve made a mistake and misjudged your own level of sobriety, you aren’t the first person to be in that position. Fortunately, there are defenses available. 

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