How Many Drinks Until .08?

A common question is exactly how many drinks one can consume before they become legally impaired, as determined by a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% (the legal limit in Texas). Charts and rules of thumb abound on the internet, but the fact of the matter is that no chart can accurately predict what an individual’s BAC will be as there are just too many factors involved.

When determining what a safe amount of alcohol to consume before driving is, it is always best to be conservative and recognize that just because you have had a particular number of drinks before does not mean that the same number of drinks will affect you the same way again.

Factors That Affect BAC

While there are dozens of minor factors that can affect the speed at which your body can process alcohol, there are a few that are more prominent than other.

What Kind of Drink?

It is easy to say that 1.25 oz of liquor = 12 oz of beer = 5 oz of table wine, but that rule of thumb does not always apply. Bartenders pour mixed drinks inconsistently, and many beers and wines have significantly higher alcohol content than others.

Body Mass

The key fact that is often overlooked when calculating how mass affects BAC is that alcohol does not distribute to fatty mass nearly as efficiently as it does to lean mass. A 240 lb NFL linebacker sporting a low body fat percentage can absorb alcohol much more efficiently that the overweight 240 pound man watching him play on Sunday.

Time Spent Drinking

Your body will steadily process alcohol, and on average can eliminate ¾ of an average drink every hour. Again, this rate can vary from person to person and is not a hard rule.


Women and men process alcohol differently, and women tend to be less efficient in eliminating alcohol from the blood stream. A woman will almost always have a higher BAC than a man of equal mass after drinking the same amount.

Contact Us

Due to the complex and inconsistent way that your body processes alcohol, you may find yourself in a position where you made an error in judgment. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated it is imperative that you seek experienced and capable legal counsel. Contact the Dallas DWI defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling (214) 845-7007 today.

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