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How many drinks can I have and still legally drive?

As you likely know, there is no set amount for any one specific person. Your BAC, or measurement of how much alcohol is in your blood is going to be determined by:

  1. Your body size. Generally speaking and on average, the larger you are the more than you can drink. The more blood there is in your body the less concentrated the alcohol is (reducing impairment). Since men are usually bigger than women, this factor often works in their favour.
  2. The amount of alcohol you consume. This often gets confused because of a lack of understanding among the general population of the definition of the term "drink". Alcohol is the same whether it is found in beer, wine, or vodka. The proper calculation will always be the mathematical amount of liquid you consumed multiplied by the percentage of alcohol contained in the liquid. 
  3. The amount of time your liver has have to break down the alcohol. Remember, not everyone's liver is the same and some people will break down alcohol faster than others. This being said, generally speaking more time your liver/body has had to absorb the alcohol the lower your BAC level will be.

Theoretically any drinking and driving could result in an impairment charge. It is both illegal to have an alcohol level over .08 or to simply be impaired (and less than .08).

Definitely don’t drive if you’ve had 4 drinks or more. For most people 3 drinks is risky. 1 drink is normally okay. In addition to criminal DUI penalties, most provinces (including Ontario) now also have laws which allow for penalties for having a BAC of .05 or more.

This being said, we don’t encourage anyone to drink and drive and caution you could receive a DUI after having just one drink in certain circumstances.


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