How soon can you drive after drinking alcohol?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | Firm News |

If you enjoy drinking alcohol, you may want to do so away from your home. As you probably know, though, California has some of the country’s toughest drunk driving laws. If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration that is over the legal limit, you are likely to face some equally harsh penalties.

Drinking alcohol does not forever render you incapable of driving sober, of course. Still, to stay on the right side of the law, you may wonder how soon you can drive after drinking alcohol. The answer depends on a few factors, including your metabolism and body type, the type of booze you consume and the amount of alcohol you drink.

Your metabolism and body type

Everyone processes alcohol a bit differently. Generally, though, larger individuals can handle more alcohol than smaller ones. Men also tend to process booze more quickly than women. Because of alcohol tolerance, if you are new to drinking, it may be wise to stay off the road until you have had at least 8 hours to sober up.

The type of booze you consume

Different types of alcohol are likely to affect you differently, as they have different percentages of alcohol. According to reporting from Healthline Media, you should know what constitutes a standard drink. The following guide may be useful:

  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits, like vodka, gin or whiskey
  • 3 ounces of fortified wine, like sherry or port
  • 5 ounces of wine, like chardonnay or merlot
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor, like high-alcohol beer
  • 12 ounces of regular beer, like a lager or IPA

The amount of alcohol you drink

Your body likely can process a standard drink, such as a shot of distilled spirits, in about an hour. If you drink a pint of beer, though, it may take two or more hours to become sober. Ultimately, the more alcohol you drink, the more time your blood alcohol concentration needs to drop.