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What are the consequences of drinking on an empty stomach?

For you and many other Californians, meeting with your associates for happy hour at your favorite watering hole after work may be one of your favorite pastimes. However, if you have not had anything to eat since lunch, even having just one drink before driving home can be problematic. In fact, you may find yourself charged with a DUI despite not feeling intoxicated.

As Healthline explains, your brain begins to feel the effects of alcohol in your bloodstream within 10 minutes of having that first drink. Alcohol has an effect sooner on younger people, women and those of smaller stature than others. For most people, one regular drink may be fine. If you have a drink on an empty stomach, however, the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly than if you had just eaten a meal. This can affect your coordination and impair your judgment faster than you may expect. If you are pulled over on your way home, a breath test may show a higher than legal blood alcohol content, even if you do not feel impaired.

If I only want to have one drink after work, how can I prevent this from happening, you may wonder? It can help to sip water with your alcoholic beverage and take it slow. You may also want to have an appetizer, bread or pretzels with your cocktail. Finally, it is a good idea to wait at least a half hour after finishing your drink to judge how you feel. If you feel even slightly buzzed, it may be best to order another water and let the effects subside.

These precautions may reduce your chances of getting a DUI, but nothing is guaranteed. Therefore, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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