Most people know their limit for alcohol, at least to avoid feeling too drunk or avoid the risk of getting sick. But alcohol affects your ability to drive safely well before you have that last drink of the night.
Even if you feel sober enough to drive, the police might disagree. And depending on how much you have had to drink, the science might back them up.
Four levels of intoxication
A certain number of drinks can affect two people very differently depending on their gender, body weight and body fat percentage. But in general, here are common effects of alcohol on the human body by blood-alcohol percentage:
- 0.020 – 0.039%: Relaxation and slight euphoria. No depressive effects or loss of coordination.
- 0.040 – 0.059%: Increased euphoria. Reduced inhibitions and caution. Slight impairment of judgment and memory.
- 0.060 – 0.099%: Impaired judgment, coordination and memory. Slight effects on vision, hearing and reaction time.
- 0.100 – 0.129%: Significant impairment of coordination, judgment, vision, hearing and balance.
The legal limit for driving is a 0.08% BAC. But as you can see above, you may be affected by alcohol at lower levels. While Connecticut does not have the crime of “driving while alcohol-impaired” (DWAI) like some states do, you might get charged with reckless driving if you get into an accident and the police find alcohol in your system — whether you were over the limit or not.
On the other hand, if you blew a .08% or higher on a breath test during a traffic stop and were charged with DUI but believe your BAC was actually lower, you might try challenging the results at trial. Sometimes, human error or a problem with the device can lead to an inflated BAC reading.