When one drink isn’t really one drink 

When one drink isn’t really one drink 

When your doctor asks you how many drinks you have per week, or when a police officer asks you how many drinks you had that evening, do you know exactly how to count them? It seems simple enough, but many people make critical mistakes that can lead to DUI arrests. 

The definition of a single drink may surprise you

The issue lies with the definition of a drink. Not all drinks are created equal. One drink, in the U.S., is as follows

  • 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol, like vodka or rum
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer

In these cases, it is assumed that hard alcohol is about 40% alcohol, that wine is about 12% and that beer is about 5%. 

The first mistake people make is not knowing how much actual alcohol they’re consuming. If you pour a glass of wine at the house, without measuring it out, it’s very easy to pour too much. If you wind up with 10 ounces, that’s two drinks even though it’s just one glass of wine. A similar mistake is consuming a mixed drink with two shots in it. 

The second error is with the percentages. The percentage of alcohol in beer can vary widely and some beers are around the same concentration as wine. Therefore, having 12 ounces of a strong craft beer is, once again, like having two drinks. 

Don’t discuss how much you drank at a DUI stop

If you’re unsure how much you drank, you may get stopped for a DUI when you thought you were under the limit. Be sure you know what legal steps you can take to protect your interests. Exercise your right to remain silent and don’t tell the officer what you’ve been drinking or how much. Let your attorney assert your rights and your defense.


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