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Understanding What “One Drink” Really Means

Understanding What “One Drink” Really Means

When going out, it’s easy to say, “I’ll only have one drink.” But “one drink” is a pretty loose definition. If you follow the loose idea that a drink is whatever you can fit in a pint glass, that opens up a lot of room for interpretation. For example, a pint glass of beer is not likely to have much of a noticeable impact. On the other hand, drinking a pint glass full of straight vodka can cause some serious issues. When it comes to talking about DUIs and safe drinking, in particular, it’s important to understand exactly what “one drink” means. 

If you have been charged with a DUII in the Bend area, start by talking to a local DUI attorney to understand more about what your options are. Connect with The Donahue Law Firm to start with a consultation and see how we can help with your DUI case. 

What Is One Drink?

When law enforcement talks about one drink, they are likely referring to the idea of the Standard Drink, also called the Alcohol Drink Equivalent. It’s not based on how much liquid is in your glass, but rather on how much alcohol is in a given liquid. Basically, this is a rough guide for equivalencies based on how much of a given alcoholic beverage it takes to reach 14 grams of alcohol in a serving. For example, the average beer is roughly 5% alcohol by volume, so it takes around 12 oz. of beer to provide 14 grams of alcohol. On the other end of the spectrum, most distilled spirits have a higher alcohol content by volume, so 1.5 oz. of something like rum or whiskey is all it takes to hit that same 14 gram alcohol serving. 

Why Care About Drink Measurements?

Talking about a Standard Drink makes it a bit easier to determine what a given alcoholic beverage is doing to the bloodstream and, thus, how much a person will be impaired by that drink. A single Standard Drink will cause the average adult’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to go up by 0.02%. By this measurement, four drinks will bring a person to the legal limit of 0.08%, the point at which someone could be charged with a DUI, if they were to drive. When you understand how much alcohol is in a given drink by volume, you can make a more informed decision about how to drink appropriately in any given situation. Basically, if you want to spend your afternoon drinking at a barbecue with friends, reach for the beer or wine, as you can drink more by volume without getting as impaired. Of course, no matter what you choose to drink, if you’ve had alcohol, make sure you stay safe and find an alternative to driving. 

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