In Ontario, you can face a DUI charge if the alcohol content of your blood while driving exceeds 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood. Commonly known as driving over 80, such a charge can result in the suspension of your licence, fines in the range of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and potential jail time. By exercising some caution and good judgment, you can avoid this charge entirely. Here are some tips to help make sure that you don’t wind up with a DUI charge on your record.
Know How Much You Can Drink
The exact amount of alcohol you can enjoy without going over the 80 mg limit depends on several factors, including your gender and body weight. Typically, you should consider yourself as being at risk of going over 80 mg if you have two drinks or more in a single sitting. This is the lower limit for a female of average weight. Men can typically consume three drinks before going over the 80 mg limit, and those who are heavier might even be able to consume four drinks without being at risk of getting charged with over 80 driving. However, erring on the side of caution and using conservative estimates in your drinking can serve as double protection against getting behind the wheel while still impaired by alcohol.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Alcohol burns out of your system with time, which means that you can lower your blood alcohol content just by waiting a little while before getting behind the wheel of a car. If you find yourself at a party or social gathering where alcohol is served, give yourself an hour or two after your last drink. This can be enough to lower your overall levels to an acceptable level, and could also save lives simply by giving the judgment portions of your brain enough time to recover. When deciding how much to drink and how much time to leave yourself, be sure to consider how long it has been since you drank last. Alcohol can take up to 72 hours to leave the bloodstream, which means that a party for a couple of nights ago could still contribute to an over 80 driving charge well after the effects of the drinks have worn off.
If you know that you will be out drinking, you can avoid an over 80 charge by arranging alternate transportation ahead of time. This can include scheduling a taxi to pick you up at a certain time or carpooling with somebody who has agreed to serve as your designated driver. If you can avoid bringing your car at all, that will work out even better. Alcohol affects your judgment first, which means that even a plan to take some time after drinking and let the alcohol go through your system can backfire. With enough drinks, anybody can make serious mistakes. The trick is to make sure that the decisions you make before drinking limit the severity of the mistakes you might make after a few drinks.
Keep a Record
If you think there might be a risk that you will get pulled over for driving over 80, you should keep a detailed record of all the steps you took to make sure that you remained sober before getting behind the wheel. This could be a series of memos on your phone, a written account in a notepad, or anything else that provides you with a testimony of your plans and preparations. While simply writing this information down doesn’t prove you innocent of impaired driving, it can provide useful information to your DUI lawyer if worse comes to worst. Knowledge is power in a court of law, and the more contextual information you can provide to your lawyer, the more effectively that lawyer can defend you.
The best way to avoid an over 80 driving charge is to make sure that you are well under the legal limit before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. In a worst case scenario where you receive that charge anyway, having information about the precautions you took can be very useful. The tips above will help you stay safe and legal behind the wheel.