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Florida drivers can be charged with DUI even the day after drinking

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | DUI

Many drivers may be vulnerable to “day-after DUI” charges, since the human body doesn’t always eliminate all alcohol during a night of rest.

People convicted of driving under the influence just once in Orlando face significant sanctions, including fines starting at $500 and imprisonment up to 6 months. The consequences may be even steeper for people charged with multiple DUIs or DUI involving an accident. Given these risks, many Floridians do their best to avoid driving after drinking. Unfortunately, even the most responsible drivers may be at risk for “day-after DUIs.”

Unwittingly driving under the influence

Many drivers assume that they can safely drive the day after drinking if they have rested and gone several hours without consuming alcohol. However, as WXYZ News reports, this isn’t always the case. According to authorities, it isn’t uncommon for people to experience lingering intoxication the day after drinking. Many drivers may not realize that they are still at risk for DUI charges during this time period.

WXYZ News tells the story of one woman, who went out drinking on a work night. She had about six alcoholic beverages over a three-hour period before getting a ride home. The woman slept six hours, then drove to work the next morning. When a police officer pulled the woman over and administered a breath test, the woman was stunned that the results exceeded the legal limit.

Unfortunately, a driver’s lack of awareness or understanding is not a defense against a DUI charge. Drivers who unwittingly drive with alcohol in their systems may face the same penalties as anyone else charged with DUI.

Factors affecting alcohol metabolization

Some people may be more at risk for day-after DUI charges than others, due to personal characteristics and habits. People who process alcohol more slowly will more likely have high lingering BAC levels the morning after drinking. Various factors can influence alcohol elimination rates, including:

  • Age – according to the National Institutes of Health, older adults process alcohol more slowly. Additionally, since older adults have lower tolerance and less bodily water content, they reach higher BAC levels when they drink.
  • Gender – as a National Library of Medicine article explains, women may also reach higher BAC levels than men while drinking equivalent amounts. As a result, alcohol elimination may take longer.
  • Recent eating – people who have eaten process alcohol more efficiently than people whose bodies are in a fasting state.
  • Drinking habits – people who drink infrequently may process alcohol more slowly than those who drink habitually and heavily.

Given all of these variables, it can be difficult for people to predict how long their bodies will need to fully eliminate alcohol. Troublingly, normal tiredness upon waking may also cover up lingering signs of intoxication. Considering these issues, drivers should take the same precautions the morning after drinking that they would take immediately after drinking.

Challenging DUI charges

Unfortunately, precautions may not protect every driver from regular or day-after DUI charges. Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, a conviction can lead to severe and even life-changing consequences. As a result, drivers who face DUI charges should consider speaking to an attorney about potential defenses against the charge.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, charges, arrest