The promise of half an hour of quiet time by yourself might be the only thing motivating you during the second part of your day at work. You have a habit of stopping off a happy hour to enjoy a drink or two after a long day at work.
Generally, as long as you are responsible about your consumption and respect your limits, you won’t have any concerns. However, sometimes those stopping off for a drink during happy hour make different choices than usual, which could unintentionally increase their chances of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
What decisions during happy hour could put you at increased legal risk?
1. Joining in a drinking game
Sometimes, there are trivia games or other drinking games taking place that can be a fun way of socializing with others. If you do partake in a drinking game, you may need to spend more than an hour at the bar. Drinking more than usual will obviously put you at enhanced risk of getting behind the wheel in a chemically altered state.
2. Switching to a different drink
Do you usually enjoy a single Manhattan on the rocks, but you let your carpool companions talk you into buying a few pitchers of cheap beer instead? You likely know how many of your favorite drink you can enjoy safely and how to time your consumption appropriately.
When you switch from liquor to wine or beer, you may underestimate the amount and therefore the effects of the alcohol and end up more impaired than you would be when drinking the same thing you usually do.
3. Finishing a drink quickly before you leave
The most responsible way to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at a bar is to slowly sip it. The faster you consume alcohol, the harder it will be for your body to effectively metabolize the alcohol and the drink.
When you drink right before leaving the bar, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will continue to rise as you drive. You might eventually come to realize that you are not sober while already behind the wheel. You could also fail a chemical breath test even if you checked your BAC at the bar before leaving.
Identifying common mistakes that could lead to DUI charges can help you responsibly enjoy happy hour without putting yourself at legal risk.