It is not illegal to drive after having consumed alcohol.
It is illegal to drive when alcohol is impacting your ability to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner.
Because of this, many people in the Buffalo area will attempt to pace or limit their alcohol consumption before driving.
Unfortunately, there is no absolute rule regarding how long it takes alcohol to enter the bloodstream and potentially impact driving.
Most people are aware that drinking alcohol while eating or while there is food in the stomach seems to delay the impact of alcohol on their physical and mental functioning and may make it less intense.
This is because the average person only absorbs about 20% of alcohol consumed through the stomach.
The remaining 80% is not absorbed until it passes into the small intestine.
If there is food in the stomach, the mixture of food and alcoholic beverage will pass through the stomach into the small intestine at a much slower rate than the alcoholic beverage alone because the stomach needs more time to partially digest the solid food before it can enter the small intestine.
This can take one to two hours depending on how much food and beverage are in the stomach.
When the passage of alcohol into the small intestine is slowed in this manner, it will be absorbed into the bloodstream over a longer period of time.
As a result, it takes longer for blood alcohol content to reach peak levels.
On the other hand, consuming alcohol on an empty stomach will lead to a very rapid absorption into the bloodstream and peak blood alcohol levels being reached sooner.
While it is legal to drive after having consumed some alcohol, there is no easy formula to determining how much alcohol can be consumed and how quickly it will enter the bloodstream.
All drivers are urged to err on the side of caution if drinking before driving.
If you have been arrested for DWI and need the help of an experienced lawyer, call us at 585-484-7432.