After having a few drinks at a local bar, you decide not to risk getting behind the wheel. Instead, you call a friend to take you home. The next day you are out driving your car when a police officer pulls you over and finds you have an alcohol level above the limit even though you have had no drinks that day. This is a classic case of a “next day” DUI.
Though it seems like an unfair situation, sometimes drivers can still receive a DUI charge the day after they ingest a few beers. This is because an officer might still detect alcohol on your breath even after you have gotten a good night’s sleep. FindLaw provides some background as to why the human body takes so long to process alcohol.
Time to process alcohol can vary
Field sobriety tests such as breath tests measure how much alcohol you have in your body. Shortly after you have a few drinks, a breath test will likely determine that you have a high blood alcohol concentration. With time, your body will process the alcohol. After enough time has passed, a breath test should not register a high alcohol level in your body.
However, some people require more time to process alcohol. Your body weight, metabolism and height can all add more hours to clear the alcohol. You could also add hours by drinking a lot and consuming the drinks quickly. in addition, men generally take longer to process alcohol than women.
Take your feelings with caution
Just because you feel alert does not mean that you do not have a significant amount of alcohol still in your body. Even common tricks to boost alertness like taking a shower or drinking coffee do nothing to clear alcohol from your system. Since DUI laws do not care when you ingested an alcoholic drink, consider staying away from the wheel the next morning if you have any doubts about the ability of your body to quickly dispose of alcohol.