What if we are wrong about DUI impairment?  Everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive.  The argument centers over when alcohol impairs your ability to drive.

The jury instructions for a DUI say that a person is under the influence of alcohol when they drink any amount of alcohol that impairs their ability to think and act with ordinary care.

Under the BAC over 0.08 laws, the jury may presume that a person is under the influence when they have a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 g/dl.  But is that right.

Is the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream directly related to how impaired you are?  My guess is that it is not.  Further is the effect of a particular level of alcohol the same in everyone?  Obviously it is not.  Psychologists will tell you that people who drink often develop a tolerance to alcohol.  They have to drink more to achieve the desired results.  Just by that very fact aren’t they telling us that the amount of alcohol to impair a person can change?

Also, anecdotally, a person who drinks probably has experienced the feeling of “drinking themselves sober.”  How would it be possible to lessen the affects of alcohol by drinking more, that seems paradoxical.

I suspect that the real reason that we experience these exceptions to the rule that once a person has a blood alcohol over 0.08 they are impaired is because, impairment is probably more related to the change in alcohol concentration in the blood rather than the level.  That would explain how a persons first drink comes with a buzz (when of course their blood alcohol could never be a 0.08 after one drink).

Why do we set the ‘drunk level’ at 0.08, when it is likely that measure is not adequate to describe the level of a persons impairment?  The government will tell you that it is because they are concerned about public safety they feel it is a good short cut or substitute for the truth.

But is it?

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.