There is only one thing that can lower a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and that is time. The human body needs time to metabolize the alcohol and eliminate it from a person’s system.
For most people, metabolism of alcohol happens at roughly a rate of 0.015% per hour. There can be slight differences from individual to individual, but this is a commonly accepted rate. It also means that it can take a long time for a person to get back down to 0.00%. A person who has a BAC of 0.9%, which would be over the legal limit, will need about six hours to get back down to zero.
That being said, there are some people who believe that things like drinking black coffee can lower their level of intoxication. Studies have found that this does not work. Tests were given to people before they drank coffee and then administered after they drank coffee. There was no change to their BAC based on that consumption. So why is it that people believe this myth?
Sedatives and stimulants
The likely reason is that alcohol is a sedative and coffee, which contains caffeine, is a stimulant. That stimulant is able to slightly reverse the effects of the alcohol. As such, when people were given tasks to do that required concentration, they did better at them if they had drunk coffee. This may be why people feel like they are able to focus on the road more effectively after consuming coffee post-alcohol. They think their blood alcohol concentration has dropped, leading to this increase in concentration, but it’s actually just the effects of caffeine.
This is critical to understand because, if a motorist is pulled over, they will still have the same BAC that they did before having a cup of coffee. If they were over the legal limit before, they still would be, and they could face arrest for driving under the influence as a result. Coffee or no coffee.
Legal defense options
Misunderstanding how alcohol is – and is not – metabolized is just one of the reasons why people sometimes get pulled over due to suspicions that they are driving while impaired. Those who are facing serious charges need to know about all of the defense options at their disposal by seeking legal guidance because “I thought I was sober enough” is not a winning strategy.