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Alcohol Content in Different Drinks

If a police officer pulls you over on the suspicion of drunk driving, the first question he or she may ask is, “How many drinks have you had tonight?” It is important to understand that there are varying amounts of alcohol in different types of drinks, for example, three beers contain far less alcohol than three mixed drinks. If you plan on going out and know that you must drive home later, it is important to keep in mind not only the number of drinks you will have and the timing between them, but also the alcohol content of each drink you have.

How Much is One Drink?

One standard “drink” is usually defined as:

  • One beer (12 oz.). Many beers contain about 5% alcohol, although this varies by brand and brew. Specialty beers can contain up to 20% alcohol, and some light beers have even less than 5% alcohol. Beer is often served in a 12 oz. glass, but can also be served in 16, 18, or 22 oz glasses.
  • One glass of wine (4 oz.). Since most wines have similar alcohol contents, a 4-5 oz. glass is usually considered a standard drink. Wine coolers contain the same amount of alcohol as a glass of wine.
  • One shot (80 proof liquor). Most whiskeys, rums, tequilas, and vodkas are 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume. However, certain varieties contain more alcohol, such as “151” rum, which is 75% alcohol by volume. Everclear and grain alcohol are 95% alcohol by volume.

Mixed drinks are highly variable in their alcohol content depending on the establishment and the drink recipe. Often each drink contains multiple types of liquor, and therefore one mixed drink can be two or three times as strong as another.

Contact Us

Remember that any statement you make to a police officer can be used against you and used to charge you with a DUI. Therefore, if you tell a police officer that you had three drinks, he or she may assume you mean three mixed drinks over the last hour, not three beers throughout the entire evening. It is important to keep track of the types of alcohol you consume so that you can better understand if you are able to safely and legally drive. To learn more, or for help with your DUI charge, contact Rhode Island DUI lawyer Matthew Marin today at 401-287-4384.