People judge intoxication levels based on their environment

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2023 | DUI Defense |

Many people attempt to avoid getting a DUI simply by paying attention to their own feelings of intoxication. They will drive to a bar or restaurant with friends, knowing that this opens up the potential for drunk driving on the way home. And they (wisely) tell themselves that they will find another ride home if they’re too intoxicated to drive safely.

Having a drink or two while out is very common. Many people go to a restaurant, drink a small amount of alcohol, and then drive home without getting pulled over. This leads people to believe that they can simply make judgment calls concerning their personal level of intoxication themselves under all circumstances. But can they?

The trouble with intoxication

In reality, people are not effective judges of their own level of intoxication. A lot of people who get pulled over for drunk driving likely believed they were sober enough to drive. One reason for this is that people tend to judge their level of intoxication based partially on the behavior of individuals around them. As one report put it “they felt more drunk when in the presence of sober people and less drunk in a group that was more highly intoxicated.”

This means that someone could be completely wrong about how intoxicated they are, simply depending on where they are and who they’re with. Maybe they are at a lively bar or a club full of people who have had more to drink than they have. This could lead the individual to believe that they are sober enough to drive when they are actually fairly intoxicated – something they would notice more accurately in a different environment, like a movie theater or a church.

Additionally – and perhaps, somewhat obviously – alcohol itself impairs someone’s judgment. The more they drink, the harder it becomes for them to recognize how much they have consumed and how it’s affecting them. Ultimately, those who are in the greatest danger of being arrested for drunk driving have the least ability to understand that risk.

Have you been arrested?

If you have been arrested on drunk driving allegations, you may be worried about fines, jail time, a license suspension, your reputation and impacts on your career. This is why it is so important to understand all of the legal options at your disposal. Even if you were unknowingly “too” intoxicated behind the wheel, there may be defenses you can use to avoid conviction or to minimize the penalties you’ll face in the event that a conviction can’t be avoided.