How long is alcohol in your system?

Myth: Stopping by a 24-hour diner for a cup of coffee will help you sober up quickly after a night out. The facts? There are no hacks to make you sober up fast.

The only thing that works is time. So, exactly how long is alcohol in your system?

There are many variables to consider

The answer to how long alcohol remains in your system is not as straightforward as it seems. It depends on many external and internal variables. It differs between people. This is also why there are no “quick fixes” to get sober fast.

In previous blog posts, we discussed how there are many factors that can influence one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The same factors can apply when determining a person’s elimination rate and how fast alcohol leaves your system. As Cleveland Clinic states, the time alcohol remains detectable in your body and bloodstream depends on:

  • Whether or not you take prescription medications, and how they interact with alcohol
  • Your various physical traits, such as your sex, weight, age, genetics, liver size, or rate of metabolism
  • The amount of alcohol you consumed, and how quickly you consumed it

Many people believe that if they have one drink, the alcohol should be out of your system after about one hour. Depending on the factors listed above, that may or may not be true. Cleveland Clinic also notes that tests could still detect alcohol on your breath even 24 hours after you stopped drinking, which could put you at risk of facing DUI charges.

Put simply, the amount of time that alcohol stays in your system is different for everyone.

Why is this important information to know?

Going out to the bar with your friends should be fun – not something that ends up putting you and your future at risk. You may feel fine a few hours after you drink, but you may still have alcohol in your system. Understanding how alcohol affects you individually can help you:

  • Be strategic about your plans, such as assigning a designated driver beforehand
  • Reduce the risk of facing DUI charges – and the penalties under Tennessee law
  • Protect your long-term health

Knowing the effect alcohol has on you can help you make smart decisions that avoid the risk of facing criminal charges for drunk driving.

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