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You can get a DUI the morning after a night of drinking

Sleep isn't some magical cure-all for alcohol. Going to bed doesn't mean you wake up sober.

This is one of those things people do not often think about, but they assume it without really considering it. They just feel like they'll be fine to drive the next day. They talk about sleeping it off as if they know that, when the sun comes up, the impact of all of that drinking is over.

It's not. You may still be intoxicated. You can still get a DUI.

Trying to be safe

This often happens to drivers who think that they are trying to be safe. They know well that they should not drive while they're out drinking. They take cabs or hire an Uber. They walk from bar to bar. Eventually, they do get home safe and they fall into bed.

When the alarm goes off five hours later and it's time for work, they wake up assuming that they're now sober. It's another day. The precautions from the night before don't matter anymore. They get in the car, start driving to work, and then get pulled over for early morning drunk driving.

They're incredulous. They how can they still be drunk? Can they really get arrested at 7 a.m. while they're on the way to work?

The breakdown

The reason they are still drunk is that alcohol does not break down any faster just because you fell asleep. It takes anywhere from one to two hours to reduce your blood alcohol concentration by just 0.02 percent. Factors that influence this include:

  • Metabolism
  • Food
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Amount of drinks
  • How fast you drank

The time that you had your last drink also matters. If you had a drink at the bar and then spent two hours getting some food and taking the bus home, you are a lot closer to sober than someone who hosted a house party and fell into bed immediately after taking a double-shot of whiskey as a nightcap.

You simply need hours for your BAC to return to normal. You may get enough while you sleep, but you may not. You could wake up far less intoxicated than you felt the night before, but still not safe to drive. If you get pulled over or get into an accident, you could get arrested even though you did not realize you broke the law.

Your rights

When this happens, it is critical to know your rights and DUI defense options. A drunk driving arrest can impact your career, your personal life and your bank account. Know what steps you need to take to work toward a positive future.

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