How Much Can I Drink And Still Be Legal To Drive?

We are asked this question a lot, and the answer usually surprises people. You have probably seen a chart like these ones:

that estimate BAC based on body weight, amount of alcohol consumed, and the passage of time. While these give you a very rough indication of what your BAC might be, they are misleading. In order for a judge to find you guilty of DWI in New Hampshire, the police need only to show that your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol to any degree. This about that again: To any degree. I suspect that a scientist would tell you that one-half of one beer impairs your physical and mental abilities to some degree. You do not see Dale Earnhardt Jr. sipping on half a beer before a race, right? Fortunately, in all the years that I have been prosecuting and defending these cases, I have never seen anyone convicted for driving under the influence of one drink.

One of the sneaky ways that the police get people to convict themselves is to ask them to say, on a scale of 1 to 10, how “buzzed” they feel. Most people will answer by saying they feel that they are between 2 and 4 on the 10-point scale. This is sometimes enough for a judge to find a person guilty, even though they are not even approaching the “legal limit” of .08.


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