How Can I Be Over the Legal Limit After Only One Drink?

Many people enjoy alcoholic beverages in their homes and when they go out to restaurants, entertainment venues, and social gatherings. As long as you are of legal age, there is generally nothing illegal about consuming alcohol.

However, if you drink and drive, you could be breaking the law. The legal limit for drunk driving in Florida is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08. However, how do you know if your BAC is over the legal limit? Can one drink cause you to be over the legal limit?

Not All Alcoholic Drinks Are the Same

Drinking a beer is different from drinking 180 proof liquor. A standard drink in the United States contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol

You can consume 14 grams of pure alcohol in:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer 
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

Therefore, if you drink a mixed drink with three ounces of alcohol, you have consumed two drinks instead of one drink. It could take much longer for the alcohol to be metabolized than had you ordered a 12-ounce glass of regular beer.

Knowing what you are consuming is extremely important. Having a couple of mixed drinks at the bar could equal four or more beers. According to the CDC, two beers can result in a .02 BAC and four beers put you at the legal limit. Now, if you consider that some mixed drinks could have up to five ounces or more of alcohol, you could be at the legal limit with just one drink.

In addition to the type of drink you consume, other factors also impact how quickly your BAC increases.

Other factors that impact BAC levels include:

  • Gender 
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Body type
  • Food consumed
  • Medications taken
  • Hydration
  • Fat/muscle content
  • Alcohol tolerance
  • Carbonation of drinks
  • Overall health

Two people could drink the same drink but have two different BACs because of these other factors. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that someone could drink just one drink and be over the legal limit for drunk driving in Florida. 

Consequences of Drunk Driving in Florida

The immediate consequence is that you could be stopped and arrested on DUI charges. You could serve time in jail, pay a fine, lose your driver’s license, and face other penalties. 

However, if you cause an accident while driving under the influence, you also face civil penalties. If there are people injured in the DUI accident, you could be sued for damages. If you do not have liability car insurance, you could be personally liable for all of the victim’s damages.

Damages in a DUI accident case can include:

  • The cost of the victim’s medical care and treatment, including personal care at home
  • The loss of income and benefits, including decreases in future earning potential or future lost income
  • Pain and suffering, including physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress
  • Permanent disabilities, impairments, disfigurement, and scarring
  • Decrease in the person’s quality of life
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the crash and the person’s injuries

A DUI accident claim could total hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars if the case involves a catastrophic injury or wrongful death

What Should You Do if a Drunk Driver Hits You?

Call the police immediately to request a police officer and emergency medical services. Let the operator know that you suspect the other driver may be intoxicated. Do not confront the other driver because intoxicated individuals are unpredictable. 

Make sure that you see your doctor as soon as possible. You will need to file a no-fault insurance claim with your PIP insurance provider. Therefore, you must see the doctor within 14 days of the accident.

If you sustained serious injuries, you might recover compensation from the drunk driver or the insurance provider. However, you must prove that the alcohol-impaired driver caused the crash. In other words, you must prove that the driver failed to yield the right of way, rear-ended your vehicle, or did something that was the direct cause of the car crash.

You must also document and prove your damages. Keeping copies of all bills, receipts, and invoices helps document your financial losses. Keep a journal detailing your struggle to recover from the accident injuries can help prove the extent of your non-economic damages

You may want to consult with a DUI accident lawyer to review your legal options. The other driver’s insurance company is not going to tell you if you are accepting a low settlement offer. Take the time to check with a lawyer to ensure you are not being cheated out of the money you deserve for a DUI accident claim. 

For more information, call one of our convenient locations nearest you for help.

Gainesville law office at (877) 255-3652,
Ocala law office at (352) 351-3258,

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