Getting behind the wheel after drinking is a crime in every state. including North Carolina. Depending on the circumstances, you could face penalties ranging from the suspension of your license to incarceration. Obviously, avoiding driving after you have consumed alcohol is the safest option, but alcohol is popular in social and professional environments.

Whether you were networking at a local conference with people in your field or went out with friends for a few drinks, you need to be sure that you’re sober enough to drive before you get behind the wheel. How many drinks can you potentially have before you need to worry about getting arrested for driving while impaired (DWI)?

There is a general rule but also nuances to consider

The standard, broad guideline that doctors and alcohol specialists usually provide to people warns them that their body can typically only metabolize one alcoholic beverage per hour. That means one beer, one glass of wine or one serving of liquor. Mixed drinks with multiple servings of liquor in them count is multiple drinks, as do extra-large glasses of wine or beer.

However, not everyone body will metabolize a drink’s worth of alcohol every hour. Many factors influence how effective your body is at getting rid of alcohol. Your age, weight, other medical conditions and even your gender can impact how quickly you metabolize or break down the alcohol.

Heavier bodies typically metabolize slightly more quickly or can at least handle more alcohol before showing signs of impairment. Men also generally have the ability to metabolize alcohol slightly faster and tolerate slightly higher levels of alcohol than women do.

Unfortunately, sometimes when you feel like you’re okay to drive, you really aren’t. If you recently were arrested for DWI, it’s wise to talk with an experienced attorney.

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