You’ve rung in the New Year. The ball has dropped, the party is coming to an end, and it’s time to figure out a way home. If you’ve been drinking and need to drive, you’ll have to wait for your blood alcohol content (BAC) to drop below 0.08% to avoid a drunk driving charge.
There are numerous tricks for sobering up faster, but do any of them actually work? Below is a list of urban legends, and a verdict as to whether or not they’re effective.
Drink coffee. This is one of the most common suggestions given to people who are buzzed. Coffee helps negate the depressant effects of alcohol and increase alertness. It does not, however, reduce your blood alcohol content or help your body to lower it faster.
Drink water. Dehydration exacerbates the symptoms of drunkenness. It can make you more sluggish and less alert, which in turn makes you feel more drunk. However, water will not flush alcohol out of the body and drinking water will therefore not lower your BAC.
Take a cold shower. Just as drinking water doesn’t lower your BAC, neither does splashing it on your face. That doesn’t make it useless, though. Like with coffee, a cold shower is a great way to increase your alertness and ward off fatigue once you’re ready to hit the road. It just won’t get your BAC below the legal limit any faster.
Eat greasy foods. A heavy burger or other fatty foods are said to help absorb alcohol from the bloodstream, but this is inaccurate. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, no amount of grease will get it out. You can slow down the rate of alcohol absorption by eating large meals before drinking, but that doesn’t change how long it takes to sober up.
Any of the above may make you feel more refreshed and alert, but alertness has nothing to do with whether or not it is legal to drive. Legality is determined by your BAC -- the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. Only time will decrease your BAC, which means the only way to ensure you’re driving sober is to wait it out.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, police will likely use a Breathalyzer or other chemical test to determine your BAC. In New York, if you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with drunk driving. A conviction means facing up to $1,000 in fines and one year in prison. Drivers caught behind the wheel with a BAC level of 0.18% or higher can be charged with aggravated drunk driving, which could lead to up to $2,500 in fines and a year in prison. Both drunk driving and aggravated drunk driving carry the risk of a license suspension. A judge could also require you to install a $700 interlock device on your car.
If you were pulled over with a BAC above the legal limit, it’s essential to retain legal assistance to avoid the consequences associated with the offense. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced criminal defense and traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.