DUI: I Didn’t Think I’d Get Drunk Because I Was Eating

Question: I got my first DUI in Marietta and I don't know how it happened. I didn't think I'd get as drunk as I did. I was eating as I drank my beers and cocktails. I mean, the whole night I was drinking, at least sipping on something, but I was also eating. I ate chips, pickles, peanuts and bread; I always had something in my mouth.

Since I was eating at the bars we were at, I didn't think I'd get that drunk because everyone says that as long as you're eating you won't get really buzzed and you can function fine. My mom was always drinking wine and she told me that if you are eating the alcohol won't affect you nearly as much. She used to drink while cleaning the house while driving, and even while playing tennis with her girlfriends.

I was the designated driver so I wanted to stay mostly sober but I wanted to have some fun so I kept eating stuff, like I said, mainly bar food. I felt buzzed, but not bad and I felt fine to drive.

At the end of the night, I got into my SUV with three friends and I got stopped for a speeding charge. The Marietta police officer said I was also weaving but I don't think I was weaving much.

I did all the tests he wanted but I was cold and I don't think I did that well. I have some issues from cheerleading in high school that actually made me get surgery about 5 years ago.

I took the breath test and I got a .177. I didn't think I was intoxicated like that because I was eating and I want to know if that can help my DUI charge and why I got so drunk.

W.G. in Marietta, Georgia

Answer: This is actually a common question because many people try to eat while they drink.

Eating food while you drink does slow down the alcohol getting into the bloodstream. But it doesn't prevent it. So you will feel the effects of the alcohol, and it will register on “blood-alcohol tests,” although it may be delayed.

On an empty stomach, the alcohol moves quickly through the stomach, kidneys, lungs, liver, and brain. With food, in your stomach, the progression slows down.

If you drink on an empty stomach, you will become intoxicated more quickly than if you had been eating.

Again, just because you were eating doesn't mean that the alcohol will have no impact on you. It will generally just take a longer time for the alcohol to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

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