How Many Drinks Does It Take for Your BAC to Exceed the Legal Limit?

Mar 29, 2021

In the state of Georgia, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08% if you are an adult over the age of 21 driving a non-commercial vehicle.  For minors under the age of 21, the legal limit is .02%, while commercial drivers will be considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol level exceeds .04%.  It is easy for drivers to memorize the legal limit, but far harder for them to attempt to determine whether they are intoxicated. Intoxication varies depending on a driver’s body size, the type of alcohol consumed, stomach content, and much more.  Our Atlanta DUI lawyers discuss some general guidelines for how you might be able to tell if you are intoxicated.

Men and Women Have Different Tolerance Levels

Typically, it will take fewer drinks for a woman to exceed the legal limit of .08% than a man.  However, this can vary depending largely on body size. For a man weighing in at 160 pounds, it may take four drinks to become legally intoxicated.  A heavier man weighing in at 220 pounds can potentially consume one additional beverage, putting their limit at five before a blood alcohol content of .08% is likely reached.

Comparatively, a woman with a slight build weighing in at 120 pounds will exceed the legal limit with just two drinks.   A woman who weighs 140 pounds will be considered intoxicated after three drinks, while a woman who weighs in at 200 pounds may be able to consume four drinks before reaching the legal limit.  Per these statistics, a drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 1.25 ounces of liquor, or four ounces of wine.

Time Matters

After you consume alcohol, your body gets to work attempting to break it down.  Each 40 minutes that pass after drinking will reduce your blood alcohol content by roughly .01%.  This means that if you have been drinking, you should allow significant time to pass before getting behind the wheel.  Consider sleeping at a friend’s house or securing a safe ride home.

Food Consumption and Individual Health Factors Can Be Influential

Body weight, sex, and time do not in and of themselves explain why some people will get a DUI after two drinks, while others can drink double and still blow under the legal limit.  Additional factors that could contribute to the equation include food consumption and unique health matters. Those who have eaten a large meal prior to drinking or getting behind the wheel may reduce their blood alcohol level slightly.  Further, some people are simply more or less sensitive to alcohol. Some people suffer from stomach conditions that will cause them to blow over the legal limit after consuming a minimal amount of alcohol. Contact a DUI defense lawyer for more assistance with defending against the DUI charges you face.

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We are located in Suwanee Georgia, but we defend clients throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County.  Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to learn how we advocate for your best interests.

Carter Pilgrim
Attorneys at Law


3725 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd, Suite A-4
Suwanee, GA 30024

Phone: Call our office 770-945-2320

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