How Many Beers Can You Drink in An Hour and Still Drive?

Many people like to unwind by having drinks with friends. After a long work week, the idea of kicking back and relaxing over a beer or a glass of wine definitely has an appeal for many. Sometimes though, one drink can turn into several. As the evening goes on, it might be questionable as to whether driving home is a safe, or wise choice.

In a nutshell, if you’re wondering whether or not you’re okay to drive home – chances are, you probably aren’t. In any situation that involves drinking before operating a motor vehicle, erring on the safe side is always advised, for any number of reasons. Nevertheless, one question we’re often asked is – is there any rule of thumb about how many drinks you can have and still be safe to drive? Is there any way to be sure that your blood alcohol content stays below the legal limit? Is there a way to drink and drive and still be safe and sober?

These are important questions to ask – and they should always be asked before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. After all, many of our assumptions are just that – assumptions. We may think something is safe, only to find out later that it isn’t, often with dire consequences. For that reason, let’s examine a common myth about drinking and driving more closely.

Examining The Myths

There are many myths about drinking and driving. One of the most common is that you can have one drink per hour, and still maintain a blood alcohol content (BAC) below the legal limit to drive. Often referred to as the “one drink an hour rule,” essentially, the assumption is that an individual can consume 1.25 ounces of hard liquor, one beer, or one glass of wine per hour, and remain legally “safe” to drive.

That’s a common belief. But is it true? After all, many commonly held beliefs aren’t necessarily true when examined more closely. Particularly when it comes to something like drinking and driving, it’s important to be certain. Making a mistake can be legally costly – and worse, it could cost lives, or change them forever.

Every Individual Is Unique

One of the most important things to keep in mind when attempting to understand how consumption of alcohol might affect blood alcohol content is that every human body is different. Every one of us is unique. We all have slightly different body chemistry. We have different muscle and fat densities. Our bodies metabolize things at different rates.

We see evidence of this in our day-to-day lives all the time. We all know that person who seems to be able to eat and eat without ever gaining much weight – and on the other end of the spectrum, those who eat far less, but seem to gain weight regardless. Certainly, lifestyle factors like exercise, sleep habits, and daily routine might play a role in this difference – but metabolism is also an essential factor. It’s no different with alcohol. Just as our bodies metabolize food in different ways and at different rates, the same is true for alcohol as well.

As a result, those with a higher metabolism may be able to process alcohol at a faster rate than those with a slower metabolism, meaning that they can have more drinks before they become intoxicated. By the same token, someone who weighs more, is taller, and has more mass and density generally, is likely to be able to drink more alcohol before becoming intoxicated than can a person who is more slender or petite. Quite simply stated, there are simply no concrete, one-size-fits-all rules for how the body processes alcohol. It will be unique to each person.

A Drink Is a Drink – Or Is It?

A drink is a drink, right? Does it really matter if you have one mixed drink, one beer, or one glass of wine? Isn’t one drink still one drink, regardless of the type of drink it is? Many make this assumption – but again, it’s an incorrect one. Let’s consider the idea of having a beer, for example. Perhaps you get a pint of a lager, while your friend drinks an imperial IPA. Although you might be drinking the same amount in ounces, one of those beverages will typically have a much higher alcohol content percentage-wise than the other. As a result, you can’t simply assume that having one drink is just having one drink.

The same is true of hard liquor, mixed drinks, and wine. Particularly where mixed drinks are concerned, if you didn’t make the drink yourself, you can’t always be sure of its exact alcohol content. Some bartenders are simply more “generous” than others. Sometimes, a drink is far stronger than you think it might be based on the taste alone. It can be a slippery slope, to say the least.

What Happens If You Roll the Dice And Take Your Chances?

Sometimes, taking chances and risks can be exciting, and even rewarding. Drinking and driving is not one of those times. One of the many potential dangers of drinking too much is that you don’t know when to stop. You may “feel” fine – when in reality you aren’t. You may rely on the one drink per hour rule or know others who do, only to find out after the fact that one drink an hour ended up being more than the legal limit. That’s a dangerous and potentially very costly mistake to make.

Drunk driving can end lives – and even if it doesn’t end them, it can change them drastically, forever. It can shatter families. It can ruin reputations. It can permanently alter the future – for the victims, and for the driver too. Being convicted of a DUI can have serious and life-altering consequences. It can affect jobs, school, and professional licenses. It may mean jail time. It could mean a lifelong, lasting criminal record. It’s not something to take lightly, to say the very least.

As a result, rolling the dice and taking the chances when it comes to the one drink per hour rule isn’t only risky – it’s dangerous. While it seems like an “easy” rule of thumb to rely on, doing so can be costly and dangerous. It often results in any number of consequences – lawsuits included. If that’s the case, hiring a DUI lawyer who knows and understands the law will be essential.

A Closer Look At Legal Consequences

On both sides of the coin – both for those charged with drunk driving, and for the unfortunate victims involved, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney, or team of attorneys will be essential. The law is complicated, and legal matters can be confusing. DUI cases are no exception to this rule. As with any legal matter, every case will be unique. Every case will have its own set of circumstances and having an attorney who understands the issues involved and who can craft the best and most effective legal strategies to tackle those issues will be essential.

Anyone who is considering hiring a DUI lawyer should certainly consult with that lawyer before making a decision. Don’t hesitate to speak to multiple attorneys before deciding on the one who is right for you. Ask the important questions, questions like:

  • How many DUI cases have you handled?
  • How long have you been practicing DUI law?
  • How much of your practice is devoted to DUI law?
  • What is your success rate on the cases you have handled?
  • How often and in what ways do you communicate with your clients to keep them involved in the case?
  • What are your billing practices?

These are only a few questions of many that you might want to ask your potential lawyer before deciding if he or she is right for you. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable about putting your case in that attorney’s hands.

At Clauson Law, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about our experience, our hard-earned reputation for excellence, and our commitment to helping every client through this process and on to a better and brighter chapter ahead.

The Clauson Law Firm – Here for You

Being involved in an accident that involves drunk driving can be an overwhelming experience to say the least. If you find yourself in this situation, you need a team of attorneys on your side that can help you through every aspect of the legal process. At The Clauson Law Firm, we are that team. Our knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorneys understand the law – and we’re ready to put that knowledge into action on your behalf. We would be honored to have the opportunity to listen to your story, and let you know how we might be able to help. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here for you. Give us a call soon. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

About Author


Clauson Law has focused on representing the injured and disabled for over 10 years. We have handled thousands of cases. Each client is important to us and has a unique situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.