How Many Drinks Until .08?

No Chart or Rule of Thumb Can Accurately Predict Alcohol Level

A person can be convicted of Texas DWI if they have an alcohol concentration of .08 in their blood, breath, or urine while driving. Most often a Texas DWI breath test is used to make this determination.

There is no way to predict with precision how many drinks it takes for any individual to have an actual alcohol level of .08 in their breath. The amount of time over which the drinking took place, the strength of each drink, the amount of food in someone’s stomach at the time, the individual’s metabolism, the amount of body fat or muscle in that person, whether the person is ill or if the stomach is upset for any reason, the person’s gender, body weight, and even race can all affect how many drinks it takes to get to true .08 alcohol level. A small female with high body fat and an empty stomach could become .08 with only 3 or 4 drinks in an hour. A large male with lean muscle weight and food in his stomach could drink 5-6 drinks in an hour and not be over .08. No chart or rule of thumb can accurately predict alcohol level, as every person is different and will process alcohol at their unique rate.

Standard Drinks & BAC

Your BAC rises by about 0.02 percent for every drink, so it takes 4-5 drinks to reach a BAC of 0.08 percent. However, none of the other factors that influence how you process alcohol are considered.

The amount of liquid in your glass or can does not always correspond to the amount of alcohol that enters your body. Beer, wine, and liquor come in a plethora of varieties, each with a different alcohol content, which is complicated further when you consider mixed drinks and generous bartenders. One standard drink in Texas contains approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol. This can be found in:

  • 12 oz. beer (about 5% alcohol by vol.)
  • 5 oz. of wine (about 12% by vol.)
  • 8 to 9 oz. malt liquor (about 7% alcohol by vol.)
  • 1.5 ounces liquor or distilled spirits (about 40% alcohol by vol.)

Will tolerance affect my alcohol level?

Tolerance has no effect on the rate at which someone’s alcohol level will climb. An older, experienced drinker will not get to .08 any slower than a young lightweight drinker. How quickly they are impaired will likely be different, but their actual body alcohol level will not be affected by their experience with alcohol. The only exception is if the older drinker has suffered liver damage, in such case, his alcohol level would be HIGHER than the young drinker because his body would have a diminished ability to eliminate the alcohol as it is consumed.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Texas

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the measurement of the amount of alcohol in the blood. Because the height, weight, sex, and amount of body fat differ in every individual, Blood Alcohol Content cannot be accurately determined strictly by the number of drinks consumed. A Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) can provide an estimation of BAC using breath testing devices such as a Breathalyzer. In all fifty states, it is illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 or higher. The only conclusive test to determine Blood Alcohol Content is a urine sample.

In the last two years, Texas has had the highest number of fatalities due to the consumption of alcohol in the United States (over 3,300 in each of the past two years). It’s with good reason that the DWI (Driving while intoxicated) and DUI (Driving under the influence) laws are some of the toughest in the country.

In the state of Texas, the first offense is a “Class B Misdemeanor”. That means that the guilty driver will pay no more than a $2,000 fine, jail time of no less than 3 days, and no more than 6 months. The court will also mandate community service of at least 24 hours and no more than 100 hours. An individual’s driver’s license is suspended upon conviction of their first DWI for at least 90 days up to 1 year.

If there is a second offense within 10 years of the first offense, the guilty driver will receive a “Class A Misdemeanor” which means that the guilty offender will have to pay up to a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in prison. A second offense will also mean the suspension of the person’s driver’s license for 18 months. At the end of the 18 months, the driver must pay $125.00 in order to obtain their license again.

In most cases of DUI, or DWI convictions, the court will require the driver to complete an alcohol education program.

Drinking over time

As one drinks over the course of an evening, alcohol will generally accumulate if even just one drink per hour is consumed. Most people will metabolize only about ¾ drink per hour. So if an “average” person consumes one drink per hour over a four-hour party, at the end of the fourth hour she will have about two total drinks in her system: the last drink that is not yet metabolized, and about ¼ of each of the prior drinks will still be in the system. So in theory, an “average” person could get to about .08 by drinking only one standard drink per hour for about 12 hours. If a person drinks more than one drink per hour over a few hours and drives, they could very well need a Houston DWI attorney.

Drinking & Driving Will Ruin Your Life

Drinking and driving is never a good idea for a variety of reasons. It does not matter your situation or where you are at, there are always other options to get where you need to be without driving. You can call a friend, ride the bus, take a taxi or walk if you have to. Putting your life and the lives of others in jeopardy should never be an option that you choose.

Whether you are drunk, a little buzzed or you have only had a couple of drinks, it is never a good idea to operate a vehicle. The truth of the matter is that motor skill impairment comes long before the effects of alcohol are even noticed. Being arrested for a DWI can be very detrimental to your life. Not only could you possibly kill somebody, but there are fines, and jail time and you may have to hire an experienced Houston DWI lawyer to defend your case.

Some may argue that the legal limit is .08 and as long as they think they’re under that limit it’s okay to drive. The truth is that a .08 is when you have severely crossed the line and are serious danger to people around you. It does not mean you should get behind the car at an altered .07 rate and try to drive. The fact remains that though the legal limit is .08, at a mere .02 people tend to demonstrate poor judgment and a slower reaction time. What it all boils down to is that after you consume one drink, your judgment becomes impaired and the lives around you are at stake. Whether it is the life of a child, a father, a whole family, or your very own life, the question remains, was it worth getting behind the wheel?

The limit acceptable by law may be .08, but the limit acceptable by mothers, brothers, sisters, and other family members of drunk driving victims is zero percent. Many families have been destroyed and many more are yet to be torn apart because of another individual’s bad choices. Don’t become one of these statistics. Make the wise choice for yourself, and for others. Get educated on the facts about alcohol and the effects it has. Be prepared by arranging alternate transportation if you plan on drinking. It is time to take a stand against this devastating epidemic in our streets and it all starts with one person doing the right thing: Do not drink and drive.