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Craft beers can get you in trouble quicker than old-school beers

Ohio DUI attorney

Drinking too many IPAs could lead to an OVI

It’s pretty much inevitable. When we meet with a new OVI/DUI client we ask how much they had to drink. In the not-too-distant past, it was a pretty simple conversation. Was it wine, beer, or whiskey — or some combination of all three?

In those days, beer meant beer. We didn’t care much about which major brand they were drinking. Maybe we would ask if it was draft and, if so, how big. Sure, it matters if it’s a 12-ounce, 22-ounce, or a pitcher. But, for the most part, the exact alcohol percentage didn’t come into play. Folks could generally gauge how much they had to drink based on their experience with the “big three” light beers.

Why craft beer is changing the game

Now, things have changed. Quality beers are in. There seems to be a new craft brewery opening every week, with lots of local flavors to choose from. We can get stouts, pilsners, IPAs, blondes, wheats, ciders, etc. Use your imagination and you can probably find it.

So what’s any of this have to do with what we worry about when we talk to our OVI clients? Well, I recall the first time I sucked down a few IPAs … sort of. Those IPAs hit a bit harder than the mass-produced light beer I was used to drinking. After a few of those, I quickly realized this was not my daddy’s beer. (Some might even recall the days of 3.2% beer, but that’s a different story about the Volstead Act, the 18th Amendment, and the Cullen-Harrison bill.)

At any rate, this stuff packed a punch. The great flavor was meant to be savored, not slammed. Three or four of those and the old Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is flying high.

This is a game changer. What was once four, is now two. What was once two, is now one. That means if you used to drink four light beers over a couple hours, you might have to re-think your drink. Or at least re-think your ride home.

Ohio DUI attorney

How your beer’s ABV can lead to an OVI

Smart drinkers know it. True beer connoisseurs pay attention to the little numbers next to the beer on the menu. That “ABV” stands for Alcohol by Volume. The higher it is, the less like your old light beer it is. It’s not uncommon to find an ABV of 7% to 10% on a good IPA. For perspective, the typical light beer is closer to 4%, sometimes even lower for the “diet” low-carb beers we see today. That’s a huge difference.

So now when we meet with a new OVI client, we have to discuss what kind of beer they were drinking. It’s easy to say someone had two beers, but if those were 90-Minute IPAs in a 20-ounce glass, that’s a big difference from an ultra-light beer in a bottle.

Why does this matter? Well, if we are to mount a defense to a chemical test (either blood, breath, or urine), we have to get expert help. Experts can help retroactively extrapolate someone’s Blood Alcohol Content based on what they had to drink and eat (and other factors). Then we can compare that result to the blood, breath, or urine test result. So it matters if the beer was a 7.2% IPA and not a 2.7% “near beer.”

If you’ve got your ride planned, and you won’t be behind the wheel, drink up, have fun, and stay out of trouble. But if you plan on driving, pay attention to the numbers. Drink responsibly.
Enjoy the flavor like a true beer drinker — just do it right. And, as they say, enjoy the “session.”

Otherwise, you might find yourself doing some foggy math figuring out the difference between your IPA’s ABV and how it matters for your BAC. And that’s just too confusing. But if it happens, at least find the office of an experienced criminal and OVI/DUI attorney.

Get the right Columbus DUI lawyer

Like anything, prevention is the best medicine. But we get it. Mistakes happen. Just make sure there’s an experienced criminal litigator to help. These are complicated, life-changing messes. Get the right help from the right Columbus DUI lawyer.

Contact Yavitch & Palmer by using our online form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office, or call us at 614-224-6142.

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