Build A Strong Defense
To Protect Your Rights

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. DUI
  4.  → How long should you wait to drive safely after drinking alcohol?

How long should you wait to drive safely after drinking alcohol?

You don’t want to harm anyone and don’t want to face DUI charges, so you decide to wait it out after having a few drinks. Do you know how long it will take for the alcohol to leave your system?

A scientific approach to waiting out your alcohol consumption will yield the best results. For example, you might feel relatively sober after an hour, but a field sobriety test could indicate otherwise if a traffic stop occurs.

General guidelines to consider

Since every person is unique, they metabolize alcohol at different rates. The type of drink also matters because they have various percentages of alcohol. For example, a 12-ounce beer is about 5% alcohol, while five ounces of wine is about 12% alcohol. To throw things off even more, a mere 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits is approximately 40% alcohol.

Experts say you should wait at least one hour per standard alcoholic beverage before you drive. That means if you have three 12-ounce beers, you’ll need to wait at least three hours. The same goes for three shots of spirits and three 5-ounce glasses of wine.

Should you trust this method?

Probably not. It is always better not to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol. You cannot be sure how quickly your body will rid itself of the alcoholic beverage. If the police stop you many hours after drinking, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may still be high enough to warrant an arrest.

When facing a DUI in South Dakota that you feel is undeserved, consider learning more about the law, including your options for a sound defense.