Even after a night of heavy drinking, many people don’t consider themselves unfit to drive the next morning. They may feel lousy and have a pounding headache as they drop the kids off at school and go to work. However, they can’t imagine that they’re still over the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). That’s not necessarily true.
It takes an average of five hours for a person who is drunk to return to a legal BAC. Say you stayed at a bar until “last call” at 2:00 a.m., took an Uber home, got a few hours of sleep and then took a long shower, drank several cups of coffee and headed out to the gym at 7:00 a.m. to work off some of the calories you consumed the night before. You might still be legally intoxicated. Showers and coffee do nothing to get rid of the alcohol in your system. Only time does that.
Drunk or not, hungover driving can still get you arrested
Of course, even if you aren’t over the limit, “morning after” driving can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Studies that involved giving simulated driving tests to people who were hungover from the night before but had no detectable alcohol in their systems found that they made dangerous driving errors, including crossing into oncoming traffic. Researchers found that they had “reduced concentration and alertness.”
The bottom line is that you can face DUI charges if you drive even hours after your last drink. Even if you aren’t legally drunk, if you’re driving recklessly or endangering others, you can still face criminal penalties. Of course, if you’re involved in a crash and someone is injured or worse, the consequences can be extremely serious. Regardless of the situation, if you’re facing charges, it’s wise to have legal guidance.