As local DUI lawyers we often hear from people that they didn’t feel drunk, yet they got arrested for DUI anyway. Certainly, nobody wants to get arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. But just because a person doesn’t feel drunk does not mean they can’t be charged and/or convicted of DUI.
As local DUI lawyers, we wanted to look at the paradox of not feeling drunk but getting charged with (and maybe even convicted of) DUI.
“I Didn’t Feel Drunk”
The feeling of being drunk or intoxicated can be influenced by various factors, and it's not always directly correlated with blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, and legal intoxication is often defined based on a specific BAC level. The per se BAC level for DUI in the state of Georgia is .08. See O.C.G.A. 40-6-391.
Several factors can contribute to not feeling as drunk as your BAC suggests:
- Tolerance: Individuals who consume alcohol regularly may develop a tolerance to its effects. This means that even with a higher BAC, they may not exhibit the same level of impairment or feel as intoxicated as someone with a lower tolerance.
- Individual Differences: People react to alcohol differently due to variations in factors such as body weight, metabolism, genetics, and overall health. Some individuals may be more resistant to the sedative effects of alcohol.
- Rate of Consumption: The rate at which you consume alcohol can affect how drunk you feel. Rapid consumption, such as drinking shots in a short period, can lead to a rapid increase in BAC, potentially resulting in more pronounced intoxication.
- Food Intake: Consuming food before or while drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. If you've eaten recently, you may not feel the effects of alcohol as quickly, even if your BAC is rising.
- Hydration: Dehydration can exacerbate the effects of alcohol. If you are dehydrated, it may intensify the impact of alcohol on your body.
- Mental State: Your mental and emotional state can influence how you perceive the effects of alcohol. For example, if you are highly stressed or anxious, it might alter your subjective experience of intoxication.
It's important to note that regardless of how you feel, if your BAC is above the legal limit for intoxication, you may still be impaired and at risk for legal consequences or unsafe behavior. It's always advisable to drink responsibly, be aware of your limits, and consider alternatives like designated drivers or rideshare services if you've been drinking. If you have concerns about alcohol consumption or its effects, it's recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Here Are Some High-Alcohol Drinks
It’s always good to watch out for what you are drinking. High-alcohol drinks typically refer to beverages with a high alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage. Here are some categories and examples of high-alcohol drinks:
- Spirits/Hard Liquor:
- Spirits are distilled alcoholic beverages with a high alcohol content. Examples include:
- Everclear: This is a neutral grain spirit with a very high ABV, often close to 95%.
- Absinthe: As mentioned earlier, absinthe can have a high ABV, typically ranging from 45% to 74%.
- Overproof Rum:
- Some rums are labeled as "overproof," indicating a higher-than-normal alcohol content. These can have ABV percentages well above the standard 40%. Examples include:
- Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum: It is a popular overproof rum with an ABV of around 63%.
- Cask Strength Whiskey:
- Cask strength or barrel-proof whiskey is bottled directly from the barrel without dilution, resulting in a higher ABV. Examples include various cask strength releases from distilleries around the world.
- High-ABV Beers:
- While most beers have a moderate alcohol content, there are styles known for their higher ABV. Examples include:
- Imperial Stout: Some imperial stouts can have ABV percentages well above 10%.
- Barleywine: Barleywines are strong ales with a higher alcohol content, often exceeding 10% ABV.
- Fortified Wines:
- Fortified wines have had a distilled spirit (usually brandy) added to increase the alcohol content. Examples include:
- Port Wine: Ports can have a wide range of alcohol content but are often higher than regular table wines.
- Some liqueurs have a higher ABV compared to others. Examples include:
- Chartreuse: Green Chartreuse can have an ABV of around 55%, while Yellow Chartreuse is slightly lower.
These drinks can really “sneak up” on you; you can feel fine, but your BAC is actually elevated. It's important to consume high-alcohol drinks responsibly, be aware of your own tolerance, and be mindful of the potential health risks associated with excessive alcohol intake. If you have specific preferences or are looking for recommendations, consider exploring different styles and brands while keeping in mind your own limits and the responsible enjoyment of alcoholic beverages.
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