Every day we see billboards and public service announcements warning us that if we're "over the limit", we shouldn't be driving. However, this "limit" can be mean different things for different drivers. 

Alcohol Limits for Most Atlanta Drivers

In every state in the US, including Georgia, the legal limit of alcohol in the bloodstream for most drivers is .08. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to how many grams of alcohol can be measured per dL (one-tenth liter) of an individual's blood. When police officers measure BAC during DUI investigation, they can analyze a driver's breath, blood, or urine (though breath tests via a breathalyzer is usually the most common method).

While there is a uniform level of blood alcohol concentration for all drivers, there is not a uniform amount of alcohol that will put all drivers over this limit. How much you weigh will drastically impact the amount of alcohol you can consume before you reach a certain BAC. According to the NIH, an individual weighing 100 pounds who consumes 2 drinks (defined as 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor) in 1 hour will have a BAC of around .09, while an individual who weighs 180 pounds could consume the same drinks in the same time period and have a BAC of around .06. In addition to bodyweight, metabolism will affect the rate at which alcohol enters the bloodstream.

Various government agencies conducted testing the effects of alcohol consumption on the skills necessary to operate a vehicle, including depth perception, glare recovery, peripheral vision and concentration. It was determined that once the concentration reaches .08 grams/dL, these skills are too impaired to operate a vehicle. However, even if you are under the legal limit, alcohol consumption could affect your ability to drive much more if you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain prescription medications that could interact with alcohol.

Alcohol Limits for Special Circumstances (Underage and CDL)

The BAC for drunk driving is not always .08. For drivers operating with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), the legal limit is .04 or above. This is uniform across the country, as it is a standard set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  In Atlanta, drivers under the age of 21 may not drive if their blood alcohol level is .02 or above. The limit was set by the state of Georgia to dissuade underage drinking and driving.

If you are facing charges for driving with a BAC over the legal limit, please call me. We can discuss the details of your arrest and the best first step to take on a path to the best possible outcome.