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DUI Law: What Constitutes a Serving of Alcohol?

Posted by Jason Beahm | Apr 03, 2014 | 0 Comments

When it comes to alcohol, not all drinks are created equal. I am frequently contacted by clients with DUI Law questions. Often, my clients initially report only having “a couple of drinks.” However, after further conversation, they inform me that the drinks were shots of tequila served in large rocks glasses! When it comes to drinks, it's all about the strength of the alcohol, and the size of the serving.

I mention this not to pass judgment, but just as a reminder that the type of alcohol that you consume, as well as the serving size, has a big impact on your blood alcohol level.

“One drink” is considered:

  • a 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof liquor (this is still true if it is mixed with non-alcoholic drinks such as juice or soda),
  • a 4-5 ounce glass of wine, or
  • 12 ounces of 5% beer.

If you consume larger or stronger drinks, your blood alcohol level will rise faster. In addition, drinking on an empty stomach as well as while under the influence of prescription medications or illegal drugs you can cause you to become impaired, even at a lower blood alcohol level. Under California DUI Law, you can be charged with DUI based on impairment by drugs, even if your blood alcohol level is under 0.08, (the legal limit for driving).

If you have been drinking it is always safer not to drive. If you do drive and get pulled over, you are going to find yourself in a tough spot. Hopefully, you will never find yourself in such a situation, but if you do, here are a few articles on DUI Law that can help you through the situation:

Justin Bieber DUI Arrest – What Can We Learn?

DUI Lawyers in California: What Are the Basics?

How Many Drinks Before it is Illegal to Drive in California?

About the Author

Jason Beahm

Founding Attorney Profile Credentials Associations Bio Jason Beahm is the Founder and President of Beahm Law. Voted “Best of SF” four out of the past five years by SF Weekly Magazine, Attorney Beahm practices in the areas of DUI, criminal defense, and personal injury. He is passionate ...


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