The Myth of “Sobering Up” Lands Many with DUI

THE MYTH OF “SOBERING UP” LANDS MANY WITH DUIMisconceptions about alcohol are prevalent in most cultures. One of the most common, and misunderstood, is the “sober up” routine. This is employed when drinkers realize they suddenly need to cease being inebriated. There are many methods, but do any of them work?


This method is one of the most popular, likely because of media portrayals. This is a typical scenario: a character in a movie or television series becomes inebriated, and a situation arises when they need to be sober. Another character will make a “ strong cup of coffee”, and right after drinking the character is sober and ready to go. In reality, coffee does not help your body metabolize alcohol. Drinking coffee, no matter how strong, will have no effect on your impairment level.

Not only does this method not work, but it may also actually be more detrimental than you think. Coffee can mask the effects of alcohol by making you feel more alert. So even though you are just as inebriated, coffee falsely leads you to believe you can behind the wheel.


Drinking while dining is common, as is the idea that eating a large meal will “absorb” the alcohol in the stomach. So people fall into the trap of eating a large meal right before leaving the restaurant so they can drive home unimpaired. This line of thinking is dangerous. Eating a big meal before drinking may slow the absorption of alcohol into your system, but it doesn’t have the assumed effect. Instead, it will take longer for alcoholic beverages to affect you. You will still become impaired regardless of the amount, or type, of food, eaten. Neither technique will artificially result in sobriety.


Drinking water has little effect on alcohol. The misconception is rooted in the morning after when drinking water seems to make a hangover disappear. The actual process arises from combatting dehydration. Drinking water while drinking alcohol will make the body metabolize alcohol any differently.


This is another often misrepresented idea in the media. Like coffee, this method may leave you feeling slightly more alert – because of the shock.  The feeling is short-lived and has no effect on the rate your body metabolizes alcohol. People will often attempt to drive after, which can be a costly mistake.


It takes a human body roughly one hour to process one ounce (or one standard drink) of alcoholFor women, it can be even longer. A few minutes will make little to no difference on your impairment level. In some cases, a few more minutes may even result in a higher level of impairment. In the next 20 to 30 minutes, your last will drinks have just begun to affect your body – so you may be more impaired an hour later than you were when you left.


Waiting is the only way to ensure all the alcohol you consumed has been metabolized by your body and is out of your system. How long it will take depends on how much you had to drink, your body size, and your body’s ability to process alcohol. Since an average body metabolizes only one drink per hour, it’s best to play it safe and avoid driving until the next morning. Unfortunately, many people believe the above methods well enough to trust that they can get behind the wheel, but this is a recipe for disaster. The only thing that will sober you up is time.

DUI HELP in Maryland

If you are have been charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, the sooner you seek legal help, the more likely you are to avoid a drunk driving conviction and keep your driver’s license. Contact the experienced DUI attorneys at the office of Alpert Schreyer at (301) 708-0277 or contact us online for a confidential and free case evaluation to discuss your case today.

Leave a Reply