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Driving the Day After Drinking Can Still Lead to DUI Charges

It’s possible for drivers to be intoxicated and charged with DUI the morning after drinking, and the consequences of a next-day DUI can be severe.

Many people in Nashville do their best to make responsible arrangements before they go out drinking. Securing a ride home, using public transportation or finding a place to stay the night may all seem like adequate precautions to prevent drunk driving. Unfortunately, some of these people may still find themselves driving under the influence - and facing associated charges - the following morning.

Delayed alcohol metabolization

Many people think that the body can completely process and eliminate alcohol over the course of one night of sleep. However, ABC News explains that the body's rate of alcohol removal depends on the amount of time that has passed since the last drink and the total blood alcohol content level that was reached.

Various factors can affect BAC. Materials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that the amount of alcohol consumed, the rate of consumption, the person's body weight, the person's gender and presence of food in the person's stomach can all affect BAC. The greater a person's BAC, the more time the person will need to return to a sober state.

The rate at which a person metabolizes alcohol also depends on numerous variables. According to resources from the National Institutes of Health, these include the factors that affect BAC level, as well as the person's physical build, the type of alcohol consumed and the person's level of fatigue. If a person reaches a high BAC level or simply has a slower rate of metabolization, that person may still be intoxicated the next morning.

Unexpected DUI charges

ABC News tells the story of one woman who faced a next-day DUI charge. The woman went out one night and consumed six drinks during a three-hour period. She went home and slept for six hours before waking up and driving to work. The woman described being "shocked" when she was pulled over and took a Breathalyzer test that indicated her BAC level was over the legal limit.

Experts interviewed for the news story explained that the woman's BAC likely peaked around .022, given her alcohol consumption. On average, the body eliminates about .02 percent of alcohol from the blood each hour, which means that the woman would have lost .12 percent of BAC while she was sleeping. Unfortunately, this left her with a BAC level of .10 the next morning, which is over the legal limit.

Steep consequences

Anyone who has been arrested for DUI, regardless of the surrounding circumstances, should appreciate the serious consequences that can come with a conviction. Unfortunately, ignorance about the possibility of next-day DUIs is not a defense for drivers who face these charges.

People who have been charged with DUI in Tennessee should consider protecting their rights by speaking with an attorney about different ways of handling the charges.