The consequences of a DUI can be serious. The state may suspend your license and you must pay a fine, plus you could see increases in your auto insurance rates. So if you know you have to drive in the near future, you may wonder how long it will take for your body to clear out the alcohol in your system.
There is no exact answer that applies to everyone, so it is better to approach drinking with caution. Getting the facts may give you a better idea of when to go driving after having a beer or two. The Cleveland Clinic explains how and why it may take a while to sober up.
Processing alcohol from a standard drink
The time it takes for your body to process alcohol depends on how much of it you drink. If you drink one can of beer or a glass of wine, your body might take 25 hours to clear out the alcohol. Your body may need more time if you take more drinks. The concentration of alcohol is also a factor since your body might require additional time depending on whether you drink spirits as opposed to a glass of wine.
Factors that affect alcohol elimination
There are other reasons that your body may take more or less time to process alcohol. Women generally need a longer period to process alcohol than men. As you get older, your body’s rate of alcohol processing will slow down. Conversely, if you weigh more, you may process alcohol faster since you have more water in your body to absorb alcohol.
Any medical conditions you have may also prolong how long it takes for you to sober up. Problems with your liver, kidney and stomach can impede your body’s ability to process alcohol. The medicine you take may also interact poorly with the alcohol in your system.
Next day DUI
Be aware that it may not be enough to “sleep off” alcohol. Some people drink, go to sleep, and then go driving the next day only to receive a DUI because they still register a high BAC level. You may want to take as much time as possible after drinking to let your body process alcohol to avoid an unwanted police stop.