You probably know the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%, above which the police will automatically charge you with driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Hopefully, you realize that in New York, they can also issue you with a lesser charge for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) if you test as low as 0.05% BAC. If you are under 21, the police can charge you if your BAC is just 0.02%.
Yet what do those numbers mean in terms of how much alcohol you can drink? You might think you have an idea, but there is a good chance you are wrong.
A 2021 study in Germany found that 53% of drivers who believed they were OK to drive were over the limit. The limit they were using was 0.05% BAC because that is the legal limit in Germany. As more alcohol clouds judgment further, people are probably even worse at judging when they reach 0.08%.
What about standard drinks units?
You might have heard reference to standard drinks units, saying you can drink x number of them before you reach the 0.08% limit. For example, one drinks unit is one 12 oz. can or bottle of beer or one 5 oz. glass of wine.
While one unit is roughly equivalent to 0.02% BAC, it is a rough equation based on an average 150-pound male. Even if you are a 150-pound male, many other factors could make it wrong for you.
The only safe option is not to drive if you drink. If you are already in trouble because you got it wrong, legal options are available to fight the DWI or DWAI charge you received.