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No, you can’t sober up “faster”

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | DUI Defense |

Alcohol metabolism is a biological process that occurs at a nearly constant rate in the body, predominantly managed by the liver. Many individuals who consume alcohol (understandably) want to find a quick way to sober up, especially if facing the possibility of driving or needing to make critical decisions. However, the body’s process for metabolizing alcohol is not something that can be significantly accelerated. 

For better and for worse – and regardless of common myths and misconceptions about sobering up quickly – you can’t sober up quicker by using “tricks.” As a result, you’ll need to plan ahead to get home safely if you plan to drink at any point before you need to drive in a short period. 

Why not?

When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and intestines. The liver then metabolizes the alcohol. The liver can only process a specific amount of alcohol in the span of an hour, typically about one standard drink, which contains approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol. This rate can vary slightly based on individual factors like age, sex, weight and liver health, but this variability is minor.

Common misconceptions about speeding up this process include drinking coffee, taking a cold shower or even exercising. However, none of these methods increases the rate at which the liver breaks down alcohol. Coffee, for example, may make someone feel more alert, but drinking caffeine does not reduce blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The metabolic rate of alcohol in the body is limited by several factors. The liver’s enzymatic pathways can only convert alcohol at a fixed rate. 

Why does this matter?

Individuals who have been drinking often underestimate the amount of time it takes for alcohol to clear their system. This misunderstanding can lead to poor decision-making, resulting in driving under the influence (DUI) charges. The legal consequences of a DUI conviction are significant and can include fines, license suspension and even incarceration, depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the offense.

For those facing DUI charges, it is important to seek personalized guidance. While “my liver didn’t process my drinks fast enough” is not a viable defense, there are a number of potential defense options worth exploring.