Food, Alcohol and Impairment Levels
When I am consulted for the first time by a potential client charged with drunk driving, the potential impact of having an empty stomach on impairment levels is often raised. The concern is that a persons level of impairment may have been elevated because they did not have anything to eat that evening.
There is no doubt in the scientific community that the consumption of food prior to drinking alcohol delays the absorption of that alcohol into the rest of the body and therefore delays the impact of the alcohol on impairment levels. The food acts like a sponge in "soaking up" the alcohol in the stomach and causing it to disperse through the body at a slower rate. This is particularly relevant with "heavy food" such as pasta, meats and french fries as opposed to salad.
As a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, it is very important for me to look behind the facts as presented by the police in the police report and compare the evidence to my clients drinking pattern, eating pattern and other relevant information to try to establish that my client could have been under the legal limit of .08% and not legally impaired at the time of driving.
Drinking on an empty stomach, on the other hand, will cause the alcohol to be absorbed into the body faster, thus causing a person to reach peak blood alcohol level earlier. The person may also feel the effects of the alcohol quicker and in a more pronounced manner. However, the process of elimination of alcohol also comes faster, so that a persons blood alcohol levels will start to decline faster following peak absorbtion.
Given the fact that blood and breath alcohol analysis takes place some time after a traffic stop, it is very important to consider a persons drinking and eating pattern to try to establish a persons likely blood alcohol level at the time of driving. In this regard, DUI defense attorneys should consult with a toxicologist or blood alcohol expert.
Gold & Witham, Attorney's at Law is a DUI Defense Law Firm with many years of experience in successfully defending DUI charges in Orange County and Los Angeles. Call 562 938 7771 for a free consultation.