The important variables in evaluating effects of alcohol on driving

Last Modified: June 18, 2024

The important variables in evaluating effects of alcohol on driving

The mechanics of alcohol absorption, distribution and elimination are subject to a great degree of variability, depending on individual circumstances. Driving behavior, driver characteristics, and driving ability can also play a role in evaluating the effect alcohol has on driving ability, and the possibility of impairment.

Thus, the gathering of information, when possible, plays a key role in case evaluation. Each DUI attorney has his or her own manner of collecting information.

From a toxicological standpoint, the following is recommended as information your DUI lawyer should acquire:

Individual Information:

  • Gender.
  • Age.
  • Weight.
  • Height.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Occupation.
  • Exposure to chemicals in the workplace.
  • Age when first started drinking.
  • Frequency of alcohol use.
  • Any diagnosis of alcoholism.
  • Visual characteristics (glasses, near-sighted etc.).

Medical issues:

  • Diabetes; if so, when insulin was last used.
  • Stomach or intestinal surgeries.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Illness or injury.
  • Under the care of a doctor or dentist.
  • Prescription or non-prescription drugs used, time used and dose.
  • Time last slept (date and amount of hours).


  • Date and time of observed driving.
  • Date and time of the start of drinking for that session.
  • Time stopped drinking prior to the observation of driving.
  • Amount of alcohol consumed during the drinking session.
  • Type, size (ounces) and alcohol concentration of the drinks consumed.
  • Times when the drinks were consumed.
  • Use of alcohol within 1.5 hours prior to the observation of driving.
  • Use of alcohol after driving, prior to officer arrival.
  • Ingestion of food at or near the time of the drinking session.
  • Type and amount of food consumed.

Driving behavior:

  • Identity of the driver of the vehicle.
  • Time started driving.
  • Observed driving behavior by the officer.
  • Length of time driving was observed by the officer.
  • Mechanical problems with the car.
  • Distractions in the car that may have caused the observed driving behavior.
  • Familiarity with the road or route.
  • Contradictions to the documented driving behavior.
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