There is a common misconception that if a person only consumes “one drink” per hour, they will remain under the legal limit. Since we only practice DUI defense, we talk to a large number of individuals. Over the many years we’ve been representing people for this type offense, we’ve heard the story enough times that it prompted us to want to dispel the Myth.
When we talk about “a drink” what we mean is:
One 12 ounce beer with an alcohol content of 5-6 % (standard Coors, Budweiser, etc.)
One 4-5 ounce glass of wine
1.5 ounces of 80 proof hard alcohol
The real difficulty in using “one drink an hour” as a reliable formula, is that not everyone is the same. A 200lb male is very different from a 115lb female. It takes much less alcohol for the 115lb female to get to .08 than it does to get the 200lb male to that same level.
Additionally, bars and restaurants aren’t necessarily pouring what amounts to “a drink” as mentioned above. Bartenders we’ve spoken with say it depends on the drink ordered. If it’s a 12oz Budweiser the person orders, that’s fine. What about the person that orders along Island Ice Tea though? Our sources say that could be as high as 8-10 drink equivalents. Yikes! Mojitos, fruity Martinis and designer shots are in the range of 2.5 ounces per drink but this depends on the establishment.
Wine bars and restaurants typically pour about 6oz glasses. That’s about one and a half drink equivalents. What about when you buy a bottle of wine to share at dinner? The waiter/waitress swings by and tops off the glasses at different intervals. How much ended up in yours?
Although bottles of beer might be 12oz, what of the many beers with a higher alcohol content? What about the pint glasses used in many bars? What about the shared pitcher?