Updated on March 24th, 2021 at 03:30 pm

While some people do not make the smart choice of not driving after drinking, other people do.  However, these people may still be at risk of getting a Wisconsin DUI.  When you wake up in the morning you may no longer feel drunk, so you get in the car and drive.  The next thing you know, you get pulled over…and now you have been charged with a Wisconsin DUI/OWI.

Alcohol Intake and Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Although a person may no longer feel the effects of being drunk, the alcohol remains the body.  When a Wisconsin officer pulls a driver over, the smell of alcohol may still be on the driver’s breath, which means the driver’s body is still in the process of eliminating the alcohol.  When drinking alcohol, the body immediately begins to absorb the alcohol into the blood.  BAC is determined by the percentage of alcohol per unit of blood.  The amount of drinks, the weight of a person, the amount of Food, and how often a person drinks affects a person’s BAC.  A person who intakes alcohol on a daily basis will Gain a Tolerance, and eventually will need more alcohol to reach a .08 BAC then someone who is a novice drinker.

Elimination of Alcohol from the Body

A person’s liver can only process and Eliminate a Certain Amount of Alcohol Per Hour.  This rate is generally .015 BAC units per hour, although some people may have higher or lower elimination rates based on food intake and metabolism.

Let’s suppose a person goes to bed at 2:00 a.m. after a night of drinking, and has a Peak BAC of .18. When he/she wakes up in the morning to drive home at 8:00 a.m., he/she will have a BAC of .09, which is above the legal limit.  At this point a Wisconsin officer can issue a DUI/OWI to the driver in the morning.  Again, this will vary from person to person: A novice drinker will not eliminate alcohol as quickly as a frequent drinker.  However, if a frequent drinker stops drinking, the rate of elimination will return to the baseline of a novice drinker.

Standard Drink Sizes

The length of elimination time will vary depending on how much a person drinks and the Type of Alcohol a person drinks.  On average, a can of beer is 12-ounces and has 4% alcohol.  This means that a beer contains .48 ounces of pure alcohol in each can.  A standard glass of wine is 4-ounces with 12% alcohol.  When broken down, a glass of wine also has .48 ounces of pure alcohol, but less fluid is ingested.  Last, one 80-proof shot is 40% alcohol.  This is one 1¼ fluid ounces with .5 ounces being pure alcohol.

Wisconsin DUI/OWI Defense Attorney

As always, think before you drink (and drive home in the morning).  If you have been charged with a Wisconsin DUI/OWI, contact Attorney Nathan J. Dineen of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. at 1-800-805-1976 or complete a Free Online Case Review.  Attorney Dineen solely practices Wisconsin DUI Defense.  Attorney Dineen provides aggressive representation to clients throughout Eastern Wisconsin.  No matter what type of DUI or criminal charge a client is facing, that client can rely on Attorney Dineen to fight for his/her rights and to keep fighting until the best available resolution is reached.

Nathan J. Dineen