Question: I want to know if the type of alcohol consumed impacts the breath test. I only drank beer but when I got stopped and I took the breath test I scored .162. That's over twice the limit.
I'm not sure how that happened because I've drank vodka, gin, tequila and rum and I don't remember getting that drunk in the past. I've used those breath tests that you can buy in the store and I've used them in bars. I haven't gotten a test that high.
I was drinking beers for several hours and I don't think they were high gravity. I seem to recall that most were actually light beers. But when I was driving home a Johns Creek police officer saw me go thru a red light and pulled me over. I think I went thru a yellow light but maybe it was red.
I work as a bartender and I think I know a thing or two about drinking.
Do you think that I can use a defense that I was drinking beer and not any hard alcohol? Will that help my case?
D.F. in Johns Creek, GA
Answer: All types of alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication. Although "hard" alcohol has a greater alcohol content than does beer, beer can still get you intoxicated. Indeed, beer has a significantly lower "proof" than distilled spirits like tequila, gin, vodka, rum, etc., but it can still get someone drunk.
Many times we have seen situations where a person who usually drinks liquor drinks just drinks beer for an evening and they wonder how they got so drunk. This can happen because when many people drink "hard" liquor they often know how to pace themselves throughout a night.
But with beer sometimes people believe that they can drink a large amount of it and because its alcohol concentration is rather low, they think they are not getting drunk.
The breath test measures blood alcohol concentration (BAC). So whether the alcohol comes from beer or liquor is not a variable.
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