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How strong is that drink? Many New Yorkers may not know

Drunk driving can be one of the most upsetting charges a person can face, and it is one that authorities are particularly aggressive in pursuing. They often look for any sign or hint that a person might be intoxicated so that they can pull a driver over and conduct breath tests and field sobriety tests to confirm their suspicions. 

But many people do not set out to drive while intoxicated or even realize they are legally impaired when they get behind the wheel. We know that the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in New York is set at 0.08 percent, but in many cases, a driver does not feel intoxicated at that level or they simply underestimate how much they have had to drink. A recent study suggests that alcohol levels, restaurants and bars may have something to do with this.

According to the study, the levels of alcohol in certain drinks have increased over the years, unbeknownst to many consumers. For example, a person who has a glass of wine may not realize that many wines have gone from being 12 percent alcohol to being about 15 percent alcohol. Beer companies are also putting out beverages with much high alcohol content than beer drinkers may be expecting.

Restaurants and bars may also be contributing to a driver's BAC without that person realizing it. It is more common that these establishments routinely serve patrons much more than the standard or recommended serving size. Wines are not always served in 5-ounce servings. In many cases, it is closer to 6 ounces. And the amount of alcohol in a mixed drink can vary widely and from one drink to the next.

The results of the report, which was released by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, suggests that people who believe they are drinking responsibly could easily end up over the legal limit for driving after just one or two drinks. 

Whether at driver is just barely over the limit or well above that limit, he or she can face some serious consequences of a DWI in New York. But with the help of an attorney, these people can defend themselves against the charges and work to have them reduced or dismissed. 

Source: HealthDay, "How Much Alcohol In Your Drink? Stronger Beverages Make It Tough to Tell," Brenda Goodman, Oct. 15, 2013

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