If you drink, the key to avoiding driving under the influence (DUI) charges is not to operate your vehicle while you are impaired. This does not always mean that you should target the legal limit; you can get a DUI if you are under the limit of 0.08%. That said, breaking the legal limit means you certainly count as being legally impaired, so it’s still worth keeping in mind.
Once you have a drink or two, you may wonder how long you have to wait until it’s safe to drive. Only time causes your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to fall. Forget what people may tell you about taking a shower or drinking coffee. Nothing causes your BAC to drop but time. How long will it take?
One drink per hour
Most scientists agree that the body can process one drink per hour, which is often why they also recommend only consuming this much. Your BAC will fall by 0.015 per hour, on average.
For instance, say you knew based on the number of drinks that you had that your BAC was right at 0.08. If you had a glass of water and waited for an hour, it would then be at 0.065. An hour after that, it would hit 0.050. It would still take more than two hours before you would get all the way back down to zero again.
Plus, as noted above, you can get a DUI when you’re under the legal limit if you are still impaired. If your BAC is at 0.09 and you wait for an hour, it may get down to 0.075, but don’t assume that means you can’t be arrested. You need to know all about your defense options.