How is Light Beer Light? Sugar & Drunkenness

By Mary Ann

Today’s college students are finding new ways to get drunk faster. Whether its drinking a beer with a straw to chugging sugary alcoholic drinks. But you should always watch your alcohol intake and the excessive drinking will always increase your blood alcohol content.

Check out how sugar plays a role in the drunkenness in this interactive infographic.

How is Light Beer Light?

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How is Light Beer LIGHT? Sugar & Drunkenness

Talk to any college student and you’ll hear a number of ways to get drunk faster, ranging from drinking your beer with a straw to chugging sugary mixed drinks. While some of these have absolutely no scientific proof, sugar certainly has its place when it comes to intoxication. But even drinking a light beer or diet mixed drink might not save you from a hangover and you should still monitor your alcohol intake.

Do Sweet Drinks Really Get You Drunk Faster?
This is where we dive into the science. Let’s take a look at how sugar and sweet drinks can affect your night out.

  • Carbonation may get you drunk faster
  • Technically, carbonated drinks may speed up the absorption of alcohol, so a rum and Coke may get you drunk faster than just a shot of rum.
  • Most carbonated drinks are sweet, but even a diet Coke may speed the process up.
  • Sweet drinks go down faster
  • Mixed or sweet drinks can be easier to drink than straight alcohol.
  • You may not notice the amount of alcohol that you’re drinking when you down several vodka cranberries, as opposed to doing shots.
  • Sugar slows the alcohol
  • Sugar in alcoholic drinks slows the digestive process and prevents the alcohol from moving into the small intestine as quickly, where it will be absorbed faster.
  • Be aware that drinking sweet drinks may make you feel less intoxicated in the beginning, but it will hit later.

Other Factors in Intoxication
The actual drinks aren’t the only factor when it comes to intoxication. You actually have a number of things to consider:

  • Gender
  • Women tend to be smaller than men and to have more fat, so the same drinks will usually result in a higher concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream of a female than in a male.
  • Body Size
  • The larger you are, the more blood you have, which means alcohol is more diluted in larger
  • Genetics
  • It would appear that different races absorb alcohol at different rates, so your genes may affect how drunk you get.
  • Age
  • Older and younger people seem to take longer to get drunk because their bodies may process alcohol slower.

Diet or Light Drinks
Most diet drinks are simply low-caloric forms of the regular ones. In the case of diet soda, which is frequently used in mixed drinks for those trying to watch their weight, the sugar is replaced by aspertame or sucralose, which have virtually no calories.

  • Drinks made with diet sodas still have calories from the alcohol.
  • Diet mixed drinks made with carbonated liquid may boost intoxication.

The Making of Light Beer
Light beer is legally defined as having 20% fewer calories than regular beer. This will vary from brewery to brewery, depending on how many calories they usually have in their beer. Rumors circulate about breweries simply adding water to their regular beer to make it light, but in most cases, it’s a little more complicated.

  • Light beers tend to have .5% less alcohol.
  • Some light beers are brewed to have a higher alcohol level, then diluted to reach the correct balance.
  • This method is more efficient because you can brew 10,000 barrels and get 13,000 barrels worth of light beer.
  • This is done by using rice or other grains that will ferment better, creating a higher alcohol content and turning more sugars into alcohol.
  • Some breweries simply add less “fuel” during the fermentation process, resulting in fewer carbs, and therefore fewer calories.
  • There are 1,545 breweries in the U.S.
  • That’s more breweries than any other country in the world.

Alcohol is always going to contain some calories, so it’s up to you to decide just how many are acceptable. Remember that sugary drinks can still make you drunk, though it may take longer, while carbonation may cause the alcohol to affect you sooner. Always note how much alcohol you are drinking, no matter how you feel and never drink and drive.

Provided by Total DUI.



Pennsylvania Town Introduces DUI-Detecting Flashlights

By Mike

The trauma induced by a police officer shining a flashlight directly into a motorist’s eyes during a traffic stop may be one of the most indelible memories of an encounter with the police.

However, while the flashlight-in-the-eyes gambit can burn the retinas, it rarely helps police detect whether a driver has committed a crime.

A new toy for public safety officers, though, could help law enforcement officials use flashlights to detect whether someone is driving under the influence of alcohol.

And this new device isn’t a product of science fiction. It’s being deployed in cities near you.

According to, police in State College, Pennsylvania, recently received a fresh shipment of the flashlights that can apparently detect whether someone has been driving drunk.

The spaced-aged flashlights, which cost around $700 apiece, were given to the State College police department as part of long-term, federally funded research project aimed at studying the effectiveness of DUI-fighting tools.

The flashlights, which are called “passive alcohol sensors,” look to be normal illuminating devices, but when they are placed within a foot of a driver’s nose, they can detect whether the driver has been drinking lightly, moderately, heavily, or not at all.

Lights on the end of the devise indicate whether the motorist should be given further tests to determine his or her level of inebriation.

Since the flashlights are less than precise, they cannot be used as the sole basis for an arrest. However, they can help police officers determine whether further testing is needed to gauge a person’s blood alcohol content.

According to one study, the percentage of drunk drivers detected at a traffic stop using the sci-fi flashlights was 71 percent, which represented a large increase over the 55 percent of drunk drivers detected using more traditional methods.

While the flashlights may seem invasive, the police do not intend to use them secretly. State College police plan to use an advertising campaign to alert drivers to the presence of the new machines.

Of course, in an interview, one officer remarked that most drivers would not be told the flashlight was used during a traffic stop until after an arrest.

Some critics are concerned that the devises could be used outside of traffic stops. Police, however, promise that they do not intend to use the flashlights for, say, pedestrian checkpoints.

Nevertheless, State College police claim that they may also use the flashlights in the event of an open container violation, or a medical emergency.

In defense of the new technology, law enforcement officials say that the device traditionally used as an initial DUI detector—the human nose—is far less reliable.

By introducing a more objective initial test to determine the presence of alcohol, police say the new flashlights may ultimately prove more trustworthy than an individual officer’s arbitrary sense of smell.



TV Star Jamie Pressly Avoids Jail After DUI Arrest

By Mike

While celebrities are no more likely to get arrested for a DUI than others, their brushes with the law always receive extensive media coverage.

Recently, Jamie Pressly, best known from the popular sitcom “My Name is Earl,” was able to escape a jail sentence after reaching a plea deal in her DUI case.

According to Fox News, Pressly was arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content of .22, which is almost three times the legal limit of .08.

Her arrest happened in January, when police officers noticed her car driving recklessly through the hills of Santa Monica, California.

Despite the severity of the crime, Pressly and her attorneys were able to spare her jail time, as the actress agreed to a sentence requiring probation for a period of three years.

Had she been convicted on her two charges, Pressly was potentially facing a maximum punishment of six months in prison.

Pressly’s legal tale is not uncommon. In fact, first-time offenders, as well as people who have been previously arrested for a DUI, often attempt to strike a deal with the court to avoid jail time.

The maximum sentences for certain crimes, including driving under the influence, are not always enforced. If people who are arrested have a firm grasp on their legal rights, they may be able to reduce their sentence.

In many instances, people arrested for a DUI are required to pay a fine or serve a probationary sentence. Jail time is often reserved for repeat offenders, or people who commit particularly egregious offense.

The avoidance of a jail sentence was important to Pressly so that she could continue filming for her new sitcom, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” which premieres later this fall.

Pressly, who started her career as a gymnast and then a model, is perhaps best known for her comedic work in movies. She has starred in movies such as “Not Another Teen Movie,” “Joe Dirt,” and “I Love You, Man.” Pressly has managed to carve a successful career playing high-strung, strong-willed characters.

Unfortunately, Pressly’s brush with the law is not uncommon. DUI arrests happen every day, but they do not have to spell financial doom for the people who are arrested.

Consulting with a DUI attorney may help you gather more information about your state’s DUI laws, as every state has a unique set of regulations related to drunk driving arrests.

If you are facing DUI charges, contact a local DUI lawyer today for more information about defending your legal rights.



Faulty Breathalyzers Prompt Review of DUI Arrests in Bay Area

By Topher

The results of blood alcohol tests—commonly administered via breathalyzers—often mean the difference between jail sentences and freedom for drivers who are pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence.

These tests, however, may sometimes malfunction. According to a press release in the San Francisco Chronicle, a few cities in the Bay Area recently reviewed hundreds of DUI cases that involved the use of faulty breathalyzers.

Some observers believe that the problem with breathalyzers extends beyond a few faulty machines. In fact, the fundamental technology and interpretation of breathalyzer results may have flaws, as well.

First, there is the threat of condensation. These blood alcohol testing machines are used more than once, and some critics claim that the breath of one person may remain on the machine until it is used by someone else.

Unless a test is given that can be used once and only once, this problem is likely to remain.

In addition, breathalyzers test for a number of different chemicals in the body, rather than just alcohol. Some people claim this broad scope may skew the alcohol-related results.

Third, the blood alcohol testers are designed to study the “average” person. If someone falls outside the average range—for example, if a person is very small or unusually large—the machine might find that person intoxicated even though he or she is able to pass field sobriety tests.

Fourth, breathalyzers have faced criticism because of the machine’s built-in margins of error. Most prosecuting attorneys will admit that the tests have margins of error of about .01 percent.

While this may seem like a minor defect, the legal blood alcohol limit is only .08. Thus, if someone has a .07 blood alcohol level, a potential breathalyzer error could have drastic consequences.

Moreover, the same machine often provides different testing results for the same person within just a few minutes. In order for breathalyzer results to be admissible as evidence, police officers must get a suspect to blow two different readings within .02 percent of each other.

Again, this seems like a relatively small difference, but DUI arrests are often determined by fractions of a percent.

In addition, margins of error not only decide the line between driving under the influence and legal driving, they may also determine whether a person has committed a misdemeanor offense or a more serious DUI crime – which may increase the penalties from a mere fine to a prison sentence.

While breathalyzers are not perfect, they do provide an efficient, objective means for police officers to determine the level of a driver’s intoxication.

Until a more reliable method of measuring intoxication is discovered, breathalyzer tests are likely here to stay.



Missouri DUI Leads to 28 Years in Jail After Crash

By Topher

In Missouri, a man who has repeatedly been charged with DUI received a 28-year prison sentence after he killed three people in a drunk driving accident.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Newton Keene had avoided severe repercussions for DUI convictions in the past. Keene, however, was convicted and sentenced for three counts of aggravated drunken driving resulting in death and one count of drunken driving causing bodily harm. The sentence included a plea bargain negotiated by Keene which resulted in the dropping of lesser charges.

The 28-year sentence represents the maximum penalty for the crimes in question. Keene has to serve at least 85 percent of the term, which comes to about 24 years, before he can be eligible for parole.

Keene was driving the wrong way on the Interstate at 2 a.m. in the morning when he struck and killed Tawanda Jackson, her friend Jon Moss and her son Arnold. Her daughter, Takia, who was eleven-years-old at the time, survived the crash. They were returning home from the funeral of Jackson’s grandmother.

Keene registered a blood-alcohol content of .24 percent, which is three times the legal limit. Takia was very emotional as she listened to the charges announced at the sentencing. Keene declined to make a statement.

When the accident occurred, Keene had already been convicted and jailed for his fifth DUI. He was arrested twice after that, though police did not seek felony charges in those cases. He went to prison in 2000, on a five-year felony DUI sentence, but was released after just 120 days.

Speaking of the maximum penalty in the case, Madison County State’s Attorney William Mudge said, “This is the only way to keep the public safe from Mr. Keene.”

A relative of the victims, Thomas Marble, had consented to the plea deal. The family did also, however, express their discontent that the maximum penalty was not higher for such an offense.

The Post-Dispatch has featured a series of investigations last year highlighting the problem of repeat offenders slipping through the cracks. According to the article, these investigations led to improved legislation to close that gap.



Judge Slaps Lindsay Lohan with Alcohol-Monitoring Bracelet

By Topher

Lindsay Lohan has been an active participant in the celebrity news cycle throughout her Hollywood career. A new scandal or piece of juicy gossip about the young actress seems to emerge every week or two, reminding us how calm most of our lives are in comparison.

But a recent turn has taken Lohan from the world of L.A. gossip to serious legal tangle, as she had to appear in court after pleading guilty to misdemeanor drug charges and no contest to three driving charges in 2007. She was given probation at the time.

Now, a judge has ordered that Lohan must wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, and submit to drug testing in the L.A. every week, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

At first, Lohan’s lawyer attempted to contest the ruling that her client had to wear a bracelet. The judge responded that she would be happy to spend the next half an hour listing reasons that she is requiring Lohan to wear the bracelet tracking her blood alcohol content. The lawyer accepted that as basis enough to continue without further challenge.

The judge also ordered an alcohol education program for the starlet.

Her appearance in court recently was to address the fact that Lohan, had missed an appointment to appear in court last week for a progress report on her probation. On the day that she was supposed to be in Beverly Hills for that progress report, she was actually in Cannes, France, partying at the Cannes Film Festival. A warrant for her arrest was sent out, though it was recalled after Lohan posted bail.

Lohan’s lawyer claimed that her passport had been stolen while she was in France, and that it prevented her from getting on a flight from France.

The weekly drug testing could jeopardize a movie project that Lohan was scheduled to film in Texas. When presented with this information, the judge suggested that the project would have to wait.

Lohan spent several hours after the court session, waiting to have the alcohol-monitoring bracelet put on. She will have to wear the bracelet at least until her next hearing, which will take place in July.

While ignition interlock devices are common penalties for a DUI arrest, alcohol monitoring bracelets are less common. However, this high-profile case has brought them to the attention of the public at large, and even some mothers have an interest in using them to keep tabs on their teenagers.

Steps such as these are still a ways off, however, as the bracelet is not widely available.



Colorado Springs Crime Lab Botched BAC Tests

By admin

The Associated Press is reporting that hundreds of DUI cases could be impacted by the flawed results of blood-alcohol tests coming out of an area crime lab.

According to law enforcement, at least 82 blood tests since January 2009 have registered higher blood-alcohol contents than they should have. These flawed tests were exposed as a result of internal investigations of the blood tests at the Metro Crime Lab.

As a result of these findings, more than one thousand drug tests from past cases are being retested. The new results will be sent to the county’s district attorney’s office and the Department of Revenue.

These offices will study the impact of the errors on any pertinent criminal cases and driver’s license revocation cases.

“We understand how regrettable this and we’re owning up to our own error,” said police spokesman Dave Whitlock. “We’re still getting our arms around the totality of it.”

The lab discovered the errors through its built-in checks and balances and quality assurance measures. According to Whitlock, officials do not believe that all of the tests that came out of the lab are in error.

Police are investigating whether the mistakes were a result of procedure or of human error. Changes have already been made to ensure that the tests will be more accurate in the future.

There is also an investigation underway by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the state’s main law enforcement agency, according to the AP.

The AP also attempted to question the district attorney’s office about how past defendants are being notified about the potential for errors in DUI cases. The office was unavailable for comment, however.

A representative of area defense attorneys raised her doubts about the process. Sandy Mullins, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, told the AP, “It puts a lot of things into question. We take a lot of these tests as fact, when in fact these are being administered by people and systems. Just like any system, they can be faulty.” Where often it’s assumed that a machine-rendered test is undeniable fact, Mullins said, “this proves that tests do lie sometimes.”



Drunk Driving Decreasing but Drug Use Increasing

By admin

According to a survey released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fewer Americans are drinking and driving, but one in six drivers are driving while on drugs during the weekend.

The data was released on Monday, July13 from a survey conducted in 2007. The survey showed that 2.2% of drivers were legally driving drunk, with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher.

The first time this survey was conducted was in 1973, where the data showed 7.5% of drivers had a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. This survey was also conducted in 1986 and 1996.

Although the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is pleased to see the drunk driving battle is successful, he point out that “alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our rads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving.”

The same survey also found that 16.3% of drivers on the road on weekend nights tested positive for drugs. This was the first time the survey checked for drug use while driving.

The most commonly used drugs by drivers were marijuana at 8.6%, cocaine at 3.9% and over-the-counter and prescription drugs at 3.9%.

“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The 2007 survey included the answers of almost 11,000 drivers who entered random survey sites set up across the country to questions drivers who agreed to participate.

Source: CNN



Stricter DUI Penalties for Delaware

By admin

Recently Gov. Jack A Markell signed two new bills into law to create stricter DUI penalties for people convicted of a DUI offense in Delaware.

House Bill 152: Increased Fines and Jail Time

House Bill 152 increases DUI fines for subsequent offenders, especially drivers with five previous DUI convictions. The bill also called for increased jail time for subsequent DUI offenders and creating a felony DUI for drivers with six and seven DUI convictions.

Last year there were approximately 6,916 DUI arrests, of which 59 people had been previously arrested at least five other times for drunk driving. Since January of this year, 3,213 drivers have been arrested for DUI, with 40 of those people having five or more previous DUI arrests.

House Bill 177: Strict Penalties for First DUI Offense

The second bill signed into law strengthens penalties for a first time DUI offense if the driver has a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher.

If convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .15%, the period of hard revocation for those who are mandated to have an ignition interlock device is increased from 30 to 45 days.

The driver’s license is suspended for six months instead of three, and the ignition interlock device must be used for six months.

The bill limits driving authority of an ignition interlock device licensed driver to work, home, school, alcohol treatment programs and interlock service provider appointments.

Source: Sussex Countian



NC DUI Offenders May Earn License Back

By admin

The North Carolina Senate approved a bill that would allow repeat DUI offenders with suspended driver’s licenses a chance to earn a permit back.

If the bill is passed, people convicted of habitual impaired driving will be able to ask the Division of Motor Vehicles to be reinstated if they have had a clean criminal and traffic record for 10 years.

For those who are able to obtain a license, the law wouldn’t allow them to be driving with a blood alcohol level of any level within the next seven years.

Those who favored the bill said it’s only fair that repeat DUI offenders have a chance to get their licenses restored since others who have licenses revoked for other reasons can.  But critics felt that it wasn’t right to give these types of offenders another chance.

Source: The News & Observer



Official Passes out in Meeting with Whiskey Bottle

By admin

Many of us dread work meetings and may need a little pick-me-up to help get us through like a soda or afternoon coffee.

For the most part, the meeting is over in an hour or two and we move on about our day. That was not the case for one Lehigh Valley, Pa. government official.

According to police, elected Plainfield Township Supervisors Chairman Tim Frankenfield passed out drunk at a public meeting with a bottle of whiskey next to him.

Frankenfield, who had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal driving limit of .08%, was taken to the hospital before the meeting was over.

The police cited Frankenfield for public drunkenness. He was fined $119.50 as a penalty.

According to court records, Frankfield was cited for public drunkenness before. In December 2006 he was fined $219.50 for public drunkenness at a liquor store in Lower Nazareth Township.

Source: LA Times



.08 Does Not Mean “Drunk”

By Mary Ann

The questions arise all the time:

  • How could I be arrested if my BAC was below .08?
  • How could I get suspended from work for being under the influence if my BAC was below .08?
  • How could I have gotten arrested?
  • How could I have gotten kicked out of the high school basketball game?

These questions reflect a common but serious misunderstanding of the meaning of the .08 “legal limit.” In every state, a person may face a DUI conviction for operating a motor vehicle “with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater” (language varies from state to state).

That means it’s a crime to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. And that’s all it means. States are free to pass DUI laws that also make driving under the influence a crime, and allow for conviction with a blood alcohol level lower than .08% if you show signs of impairment.

States are free to make it a crime to drive with a lower BAC if you’re a minor. States are free to make it a crime to drive with a lower BAC if you’re driving a commercial vehicle. And many do all three.

Outside the legal arena, the .08% “limit” has no application at all unless specifically adopted for some other purpose. Employers aren’t bound by it. Schools aren’t bound by it. And even the criminal justice system isn’t bound by it outside the specific statutes that refer to it.

For instance, the crime of “public intoxication” is not, in most states, dependent upon a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.

So what does your BAC mean for your case? Speak with a DUI attorney to get the facts about the laws in your state and what your BAC really means.



Nebraska Increases Penalties for Drivers over .15

By Mary Ann

This week Nebraska joined the growing number of states increasing DUI penalties if the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of .15%.

Under the new provision, either 2 days in jail or a minimum 120 hours of community service will be mandatory for DUI offenders who cross that threshold.

In addition, the driver’s license suspension is increased to one year for these drivers.