This is a common-enough question, and it’s also intelligent, reasonable, and responsible. And like many similar questions, the answer is surprising.
The answer is ‘Nothing – nothing at all.’ If you listen to your lawyer — and you should — you’ll understand that there is no such thing as a safe level of blood alcohol in a driver.
My advice on drinking and driving is not my tip of the hat to dire public safety warnings, and it’s not an “all DUI laws are nonsense” rant, either. I don’t make public policy, I just try to save you from it. Public policy these days is to criminalize more behavior while increasing penalties, and that’s what my law firm wants to help you avoid.
It’s not as if one bourbon, one scotch, or one beer will make you a dangerous driver. Most credible sources agree that impairment begins around a BAC of .05%. A five-foot-four, 140-pound woman who has two drinks in 90 minutes will blow a .039; she’s unimpaired, and well below the legal limit. A six-foot-five, 275-pound man such as myself could pound a six-pack in an hour and blow a .063 — impaired, but not necessarily illegal. Thanks to my friends at http://bloodalcoholcalculator.org/ for the calculators. And no, height doesn’t matter
‘Not necessarily illegal’ translates into that’s ‘you might beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.‘ If the police pull you over for a traffic violation and you smell a little boozy, they have the ability to arrest you for ‘suspicion’ of DUI. If you blow a .04 or so, like our hypothetical friend above, they could let you go — or they could arrest you and perform a blood draw to ‘find out for sure.’ Driving after having a drink or two is unlikely to get you drunk, legally or otherwise — but it can get you in a lot of trouble.