Anyone who has an alcoholic beverage should understand just how much alcohol there is in the drink and how it may affect their ability to drive safely. In the U.S. a standard drink has approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol.
Every drink is different, so what a “drink” is will vary. This is important to discuss with your child if they drink underage, because they may think that they can drink more than they can before they’ll be over the legal limit for those under 21. This isn’t surprising, since there is no acceptable level of alcohol in the blood of those underage. Even a single drink may lead to an underage DWI.
What constitutes a drink?
To know how much you’ve had to drink and how it may affect you, you need to know what constitutes a drink. The basic breakdown for three common kinds of alcoholic beverages follows.
- 12-ounces of regular beer with around 5% alcohol is a single drink
- Around 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, when they contain 40% alcohol, constitutes a single drink
- 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol makes up a single drink
The thing that makes it difficult to know how much alcohol you’ve ingested is that not every drink of the same size contains the same amount of alcohol. Mixed drinks may have higher levels of distilled spirits or mixers than expected. Wine might have a higher alcohol concentration than 12%. You might have two beers, both 12 ounces, which have 5% and 8% alcohol, respectively.
Don’t drink and drive, choose an alternative way to get home
These minor changes may not seem like much, but they can add up. That’s why it’s never advisable to drive when you’ve been drinking. It’s too easy to underestimate how much you’ve had to drink. On top of that, if you’re 20 or younger, you can be charged for underage drinking even if you’ve had only a small amount of alcohol.
If you are stopped after having drinks, you could end up facing serious penalties. A good defense may help you protect your right to drive and help you avoid jail time, fines and other penalties.