One of the last things you want after your office Christmas party is to get arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence). After all, it is bad enough confessing crushes at the water cooler or writing an email about your new belly-dancing class that goes viral at the office. It is worse to go to work a few days after the office holiday party and have to explain to your supervisor that you need to take time off from work to go to court, and oh by the way, you’ll also be taking the bus to work for the next 90 days because your driver’s license is suspended.

There Are No Holiday Party Exceptions to DUI Charges

Your blood alcohol level is a significant part of determining whether you are going to be charged with or convicted of DUI. By the way, there is no “holiday party” exception to drinking and driving charges. Officers are never tolerant of DUI drivers, and they are less tolerant of them during holiday seasons. Courts act in a similar manner. The government sends a message to potential drinking drivers through billboards, radio and TV public service ads. You know the script well. “You will be caught, you will go to jail and you will lose your driving privileges.”

All right, you know that law enforcement is out there, and you know that they are not lenient. So, how much can you safely drink and still drive?

Guidelines for How Much Alcohol to Drink

Drinking and driving safely is computed on how much alcohol is in our systems when we drive. A huge part of that is based on how fast we burn off, or metabolize, alcohol after we drink it. Doctors know that there are many variables in how people metabolize alcohol. However, before we go into specifics, let me give you a very loose guideline: for each ounce of alcohol consumed, wait 90-120 minutes before drinking alcohol again.

How much alcohol is in a drink? Each 12 ounce beer or six ounce glass of wine or 1.25 ounce shot of hard liquor has about an ounce of alcohol in it. Do not assume that any mixed drink only has a “shot” of alcohol in it. A trick is to drink less, and to alternate alcohol with sparkling water, juice or soda. Drink less at the end of a holiday party so that you have less alcohol in your system when you drive.  The following things affect your ability to metabolize alcohol and you should drink less, or not at all, if:

  • You weigh less than 140 pounds
  • You are drinking on an empty stomach
  • You take prescription medicine
  • You are sleepy, sick or worn down
  • You metabolize slowly (females have a slower metabolism and thus use up alcohol more slowly than males)

If you match any of the above, and you are going to drink, the best thing to do is to take a cab or to ride with a sober friend. You will never be charged with being a drunk passenger in a cab, or being a drunk passenger in a friend’s car. This of course assumes that you pay the cab driver and keep your clothes on in the cab or your friend’s car.

If you are charged with a holiday party DUI (or any DUI) in Colorado, call Shaun Kaufman Law. With your help, and the help of experts, he will examine the complex scientific and medical issues in your case and defend you with expertise and compassion.

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