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Are there ramifications to driving while hung over?

The next time you offer a friend the couch after a night drinking, you may want to clarify how long their stay should last.

Experts have found that those who drive home with a hangover are still putting other drivers and themselves at risk.

Leftover alcohol

One of the most apparent reasons why someone who has been drinking the night before may still be a danger to the roads in the morning is if there's still alcohol in their system. Because alcohol can disrupt a person’s sleeping cycle, a drunk person may try to leave in the morning before sobering up all the way.

If the person consumed a large amount of alcohol within a matter of a few hours, they’re likely to have alcohol still in their system — especially if they didn't eat or drink water.

Sober hangovers are still dangerous

Recent studies have found that those with a 0.0 BAC may still be impaired if they are hungover. One reason why is because drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy operators may lack the same awareness, control and risk assessment abilities.

People who are hungover are also usually dehydrated. This is typically what causes a headache. Additionally, a hangover may include symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, shakiness, weakness, stomach pain, muscle aches, inability to concentrate and more.

All of these symptoms inhibit a person’s ability to drive safely.

Legal penalties for driving hungover

You can be charged with a DUI for driving while under the influence of any substance that impairs your judgment. However, hangover symptoms impair your judgment while you're completely sober.

Thus, a police officer cannot issue you a DUI for driving with a hangover. However, it’s entirely likely that you are charged for Reckless Driving if your hangover is causing you to drive poorly. You could also get into an accident if you aren’t able to focus on the road.

If you are facing criminal charges for an offense related to alcohol, driving or drugs, it’s important that you contact an attorney to speak on your behalf as soon as possible. A lawyer can keep you from incriminating yourself and help defend your legal rights as they apply to your unique situation.

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