DUI: I don't know why I felt so drunk

Question: I got into a small accident in Forsyth County over the weekend. I just had a couple of drinks and I went to drive home and I hit a parked car at a Mexican restaurant in Cumming. Usually two drinks won't affect me all that much because I have been drinking since my days at the University of Georgia.

I was spending some time with my family and over a long dinner I had the drinks. I felt really drunk pretty quickly. I mean much faster than usual when I drink a lot more. It really hit me hard. I don't know why I felt drunk so fast. I'm trying to figure that out. Maybe it was because I spent the day outside at the pool or maybe because I didn't get enough sleep for the past few nights or maybe because I just started taking birth-control pills.

I have never had a DUI before and I don't drive when I feel drunk. I usually just have a small buzz. After I hit the parked car the police came because I think someone saw the accident and called 911. In a short time a Forsyth County deputy sheriff was there.

I was cooperative and I took the breath test. It came back at .116. Do I have a defense that I just had two drinks? What do you think happened to me? My parents are not happy and I'd like explain it to them.

N.P. in Forsyth County, GA

Answer: It is certainly possible that a day outside, not getting enough sleep and taking birth-control pills all combined to make you feel more intoxicated than you actually were.

According to recent studies, about 17 percent of American women ages 15 to 44 use birth-control pills. It has been noted in the scientific literature that alcohol tends to leave the body at a slower rate in women who take oral contraceptives than in women who do not. So when a woman who is on the pill drinks, she may very well feel intoxicated sooner.

However, oral contraceptives would not increase a test result on a breath test for alcohol. Of course, spending a day outdoors and not having enough sleep also would not cause a high breath test level. But, as stated above, they could certainly make you feel more drunk than you were.

The fact that you had only two drinks really does not help your defense when there is a breath test. The drinks, for instance, could have been larger or simply contained more alcohol than a "standard" drink.

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