If you try to be responsible about not drinking and driving, you’ll take an Uber or Lyft home after a night out or rely on a non-drinking friend to be your designated driver. By the time you head out to work or class the next morning or drive the kids to school, you may not even consider that you could still be over the legal limit.
However, you could be – especially if it was a late night of drinking followed by an early-morning alarm. Alcohol doesn’t magically leave your system once the sun comes up. Contrary to popular belief, a cold shower and few strong cups of coffee won’t help, either. They’ll just make you a clean, caffeinated person who’s still sobering up.
Alcohol takes time to leave the body
Only time will sober a person up. On average, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is what Breathalyzer-type tests measure, decreases by about .02% every one to two hours. That means if your BAC got up to .20% at 1:00 a.m., you could still be over the legal limit of .08% at 7:00 a.m.
If you’re under 21, you’re subject to Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance Law. That means if you have a BAC of even .02%, you can get a DUI.
Driving with a hangover can get police attention as well
If you’re dealing with hangover the morning after a long night, there are other things that can make driving unsafe, including a headache, nausea, dizziness and vision problems. Risky driving behaviors caused or exacerbated by a hangover are likely to get you noticed by a law enforcement officer and pulled over. Even if you don’t get a DUI, you may have to deal with some other moving violation.
If you’ve already learned all of this the hard way and are facing a DUI charge, don’t try to deal with the justice system on your own. It’s crucial to protect your rights and determine what your best options are for dealing with the charge.