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Effects of Heat & Dehydration on BAC Level

Posted on July 21, 2021 in Blood Alcohol Tests

Alcohol already has a dehydrating effect on the body; if you are drinking alcohol on a hot summer’s day in Arizona, this can dehydrate you even faster. Although heat and dehydration themselves will not make you drunk, they can intensify the effects of alcohol. You may be more likely to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), therefore, after drinking on a hot day.

How Does Alcohol Dehydrate You?

Alcohol can dehydrate you because it is a diuretic. This means it rids your body of sodium and extra water. Consuming alcohol causes your body to remove fluids from your blood at a faster rate than other liquids. It does this through your renal system: your kidneys, ureters and bladder. Due to the diuretic nature of alcohol, if you don’t hydrate while you imbibe, you can quickly become dehydrated.

The symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, dry mouth, feeling tired and dark-colored urine. At a severe stage, dehydration can cause muscle cramps, liver damage, kidney damage due to high blood pressure and toxins, and cognitive problems. Dehydration can also increase the effects of alcohol, including confusion, dizziness, loss of balance and blurred vision.

You are at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated when you drink alcohol if you haven’t eaten, if you have multiple alcoholic beverages and if you don’t drink water in between alcoholic drinks. You may be able to prevent dehydration (and help related hangovers) by eating to boost your blood sugar, drinking sports drinks and electrolyte-fortified water, doing light exercise to get rid of alcohol faster, and avoiding alcohol the next morning.

Does Alcohol Affect You More in the Heat?

Yes, alcohol can affect you more in hot weather. The heat can make you sweat, contributing to the dehydration that is already being caused by alcohol. Combining alcohol and heat is dangerous, as it can lead to an increased level of intoxication and related health problems. You may notice an increased loss of balance and coordination, for example, or lightheadedness, when drinking in the heat. If you are in the sun for a long period of time, this can heighten the effects of alcohol even more.

Drinking in the heat can increase your risk of a DUI and other problems related to intoxication, including an alcohol-related illness or even death – even if you didn’t drink as much as usual. In Arizona, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for most drivers is 0.08 percent. If you are pulled over and found with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, you can be arrested for a DUI in Arizona. If you were drinking in the heat, you can reach this BAC more easily than drinking in normal weather conditions.

Is Dehydration or Heat a Usable Defense to a DUI?

In general, the argument that it was hot outside or that you were dehydrated will not be enough to avoid a driving under the influence conviction in Arizona. Although heat and dehydration can increase the effects of alcohol, it is still your duty as a driver to drink responsibly, understand how the alcohol will affect your ability to drive and not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking any amount of alcohol.

However, an experienced Tempe DUI attorney may be able to craft another defense strategy to help you argue against a DUI allegation. For example, your attorney may be able to prove that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to pull you over or committed an illegal search and seizure. Your attorney may also be able to use a defense related to the chemical or field sobriety tests done by the officer. For more information about DUI defense, contact Rosenstein Law Group for a free, confidential case review.

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