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Ask a trooper: You can still get DWI morning after drinking

Question: After a night out drinking, with my friends, I was arrested the following morning for drunk driving on my way to work. How is this possible?

Answer: Alcohol related crashes and DWI arrests do happen in the morning, we see it all the time. Those number of DWI arrests do not compare to what occurs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but surely something to be looked at and aware of.

As we are going to have more crashes when we have more cars on the road and drivers are in a hurry. If we add fatigued drivers, with alcohol still in their system from the night before, crashes will increase.

Here are the very basics about alcohol in your system. Keep in mind there are some factors that change the amount of alcohol absorbed: weight, food, man or woman just to name a few, but we can still create an accurate guide.

The most important thing to know is that alcohol only leaves your system with time. The "average" alcohol dissipation in humans is said to be about 0.015 percent per hour. A cup of coffee or a few hours of sleep will not dissipate alcohol faster; one drink will leave your system in approximately one and one-half hour.

Now "one drink" is not a three or four shot Martini or a long pour cocktail. One drink for this formula is: one 12 oz. domestic beer, 4 oz. of domestic wine, or one shot (oz.) or less of 80 proof alcohol in a cocktail.

If you go beyond this definition of "one drink" more alcohol will be in your system and the relevant amount of time will be needed before it leaves your system.

If you drink heavily and go to sleep for only a short time, before heading out in the morning, alcohol will still be in your system and you are very likely impaired, thus, you are more at risk for crashing and hurting yourself and/or others.

Often, in these scenarios, fatigue is a huge factor weighing in also. Sleep with alcohol in your system is not good sleep and fewer than seven or eight hours a night is not recommended if trying to avoid fatigue.

Again, there is no magic pill to take -- only time will get the alcohol out of your system and it is important to consider this when making your plans and designating your sober driver. There is zero tolerance for impaired drivers on our roadways.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can also follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@