Can I Sleep It Off To Avoid A DUI?

Jun 20, 2014 @ 02:14 PM — by Myles L. Berman

The answer is....”it depends”. Here’s why. During the last blog entry “Which is Better – Beer, Wine, or Hard Liquor ”, I explained how important it is to consider what type of alcohol is consumed as well as what quantity. If a person drinks a couple of beers, that person should burn off the alcohol within several hours. However, if that same person drank several glasses of wine or shots of hard liquor, the resulting blood alcohol level would be much higher than if that person drank two beers. Consequently, it would take much longer to burn off.

For example, Barry weighs 180 pounds and drinks two 12oz. bottles of light beer at 10 p.m. while watching the Stanley cup finals in the living room of his Los Angeles Apartment. At 1a.m. Barry falls asleep from the exhaustion of celebrating the Kings winning the Stanley Cup. Can Barry be arrested for a DUI driving to work at 7 a.m. the following morning? The answer is no, assuming he had not ingested any other intoxicants. 


Meanwhile, Barry’s friend Cathy, a 180 pound native New Yorker, is also watching the Finals at her house in Laguna. Cathy opens a bottle of Cabernet at 7 p.m. The longer she watches the game the more wine she drinks. By 10 p.m., Cathy has finished the entire bottle of wine and opens a second bottle. She  drinks the second bottle and goes to bed at 1a.m., sad because New York lost the Stanley Cup Finals.  Can Cathy get a DUI on her way to work at 7 a.m.? The answer is absolutely yes. Here’s why, a standard bottle of wine contains approximately five 5oz. glasses of wine. So this means Cathy had ten 5oz. glasses of wine! (Remember in my last blog entry I told you it takes over 3 hours to burn off two 6oz. glasses of wine.) Cathy only allowed herself six hours to burn off all of the alcohol consumed and would have a blood alcohol level above .08. 

So what’s the moral to the story you ask??? It’s quite simple. First, be a Kings fan. Second, sleep does not magically make your blood alcohol level zero. You still need to allow yourself the appropriate amount of time to burn it off. And by the way, trying to cure the morning hangover with the “hair of the dog remedy” (chasing the hangover away with a beer...or two), obviously will not help avoid a DUI arrest. 

Now, to answer the question posed at the end of the last blog about Adam drinking while riding the train to Victorville. Victorville is 84 miles from Los Angeles, so it would take a train going 60 mph approximately an hour and 20 minutes without stops. However, Amtrak typically makes this trek in 2 hours and 55 minutes. So...if Adam’s train left Los Angeles at 4 p.m. he would arrive at Victorville at 6:55 p.m. The maximum blood alcohol content that Adam should reach is approximately .11. So, by the time Adam exits the train he should be a little over .08 and should call a buddy to give him a ride home from 
the train station.

Stay tuned for the next blog when we explore whether sleeping in your car until you sober up will save you from a DUI arrest.

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