How many drinks can I have?


One of the most important factors in preventing yourself from being exposed to the consequences of a DUI in the Southern California area is knowing when you should be behind the wheel in the first place. Although I personally recommend never getting behind the wheel after indulging in adult cocktails, below is a chart which can help you estimate whether or not you should be anywhere near the wheel of a vehicle.

Drinking alcohol affects your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). It is illegal to drive with a BAC that is .08% or more (.04% or more if you drive commercial vehicles; .01% or more if under 21). However, a BAC below .08% does not mean that it is safe or legal to drive. The charts below show the BAC zones for various numbers of drinks and time periods. Remember: “One drink” is a 1 ½-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor (even if mixed with non-alcoholic drinks), a 5-ounce glass of 12% wine, or a 12-ounce glass of 5% beer. These “one drink” equivalents change if you are drinking ale, malt liquors, fortified wines, port, brandy, different proof liquor, or if you are drinking on an empty stomach, are tired, sick, upset, or have taken medicines or drugs.

BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVELS

  • (.01% – .04%) May be DUI: Anyone, after one drink during a two-hour period – and people weighing 170 pounds or more, after two drinks.
  • (.05% – .07%) Likely DUI: People weighing less than 170 pounds, after two drinks – people weighing 150 pounds or more, after three drinks – and people weighing 190 pounds or more, after four drinks.
  • (.08% – UP) Definitely DUI: People weighing less than 150 pounds, after three drinks – people weighing less than 190 pounds, after four drinks – and anyone, after five drinks.
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