Is Driving Hungover Still Considered Drunk Driving?

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As you know, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. However, what if a person has a night out and wakes up hungover? Can they drive then? Continue reading and contact a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer to learn about whether driving while hungover is still considered drunk driving in Pennsylvania.

Can I get a DUI for driving while hungover?

To answer this question, we’ll need to get into the science of exactly how our bodies break down alcohol. On average, a person is capable of breaking down a single unit of alcohol in an hour. This means one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce shot can be broken down entirely within an hour. However, a person who drinks several drinks in a relatively short time period will likely take even longer to metabolize all the alcohol. Additionally, factors such as a person’s gender, age, weight, and metabolism can also impact how quickly the body breaks down alcohol.

So, for example, if a person is partying with friends and consumes ten drinks starting at 9 pm (a very high amount), the alcohol will not leave their system entirely until 7 in the morning at the absolute earliest (and likely far later, as this many drinks will likely be consumed over the course of at least a few hours). This means that if they have to wake up and drive somewhere at any point before that, there is a strong chance that they may be over the legal limit if they were to submit to Blood Alcohol Content testing, and will, as a result, face DUI charges.

Further, it’s worth noting that even if a person is not technically above the legal limit as far as blood alcohol content levels go, the symptoms of a hangover can still impair their ability to safely drive their vehicle. Symptoms of hangovers include sensitivity to light, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, vomiting, and more. Rather obviously, if a person is feeling any of these symptoms, they are not at the top of their game when driving, to say the least. For this reason, it is best to simply wait until these symptoms subside or get a ride from someone else.

That being said, if you do not have any alcohol in your body and are approached by law enforcement for a traffic violation of some sort, driving while hungover, on its own, will not warrant a DUI charge.

In summary, driving while hungover isn’t always technically a crime, but in many cases, it can be. If you were arrested and charged with a DUI here in Pittsburgh, contact the Law Offices of George Heym for help today.

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