Paris Hilton: One Drink Really Can Result in a DUI Dilemma


Many who are skeptical about Paris Hilton's claim that she had only one Margarita when she was arrested for DUI in September don't realize that one drink really can result in a BAC of .08.

You don't have to be swerving all over the road to get a DUI- you may need only consume one drink in an hour or less. For those with lower than average body weight, like Paris Hilton, it might take less than one strong mixed drink to reach a BAC of .08, which can result in a DUI.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 44 percent of adults drink socially and consume at least 12 drinks per year. Many, however, do not realize how very little alcohol can be consumed before they are considered legally drunk and if stopped, could be charged with a DUI.

For an average person, it takes about one hour to metabolize one drink, yet many drinks, like Margaritas, contain more than the equivalent of "one drink," which is one ounce of 100-proof liquor, one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer, or one five ounce glass of wine.

Stopping off at the local watering hole for a quick Cosmopolitan? If you're of average body weight, you might want to wait three hours before you get in the car: the average Cosmopolitan contains the equivalent of three drinks. Paris Hilton's Margarita contained the equivalent of two drinks. Pina Colada? Three drinks. Better plan on staying at the bar all night for a Long Island Iced Tea-five drinks are in that "one" drink.

Even if you feel fine after just one drink, the effects of alcohol are present. Physical, visual, and cognitive impairments are affected with a BAC of .08, and become more severe with higher BAC levels. At a BAC level of just .08, your reaction time is slower and you will become physically less coordinated. Depth perception and peripheral vision will decrease significantly and the chances of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident increase.

But How Does BAC Get Measured?

When alcohol reaches the bloodstream, it doesn't chemically change, and is present in the breath when you exhale. Standard breath analysis equipment can accurately measure the ratio of alcohol in the breath to alcohol in the bloodstream. In most states, as in California, where Paris Hilton received her DUI, the legal standard for drunkenness is .08, or .08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

The consequences of getting a DUI in any state can be severe. Steep penalties and fees, loss of driver's license, and even jail time can result for many who were stopped by police after having "just one drink."

The best way to avoid a DUI? Don't drink and drive.

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