Question: My daughter got arrested for DUI in Forsyth County, Georgia, and it's not her first DUI arrest. But this time we all think that the test she took must be wrong because her alcohol level was so high. We think that there is no way that she could have drunk so much.
She said her breath test level was .214. She said she didn't drink that much and that the weather was hot and that made the test really high. She thinks the hot weather made the test give an inaccurate reading.
She really doesn't drink that much. Whenever I see her drink she's always the type of person who'll just have a glass of wine or a single beer and that will be it for the evening. Her last DUI was 6 years ago, and it was also in Forsyth County, was after a she broke up with her boyfriend and she just drank to forget about him.
But this time is different. She said she couldn't have been that drunk because she didn't drink a ton of booze. She thinks it must have been the weather being warm that caused the high alcohol test. She said that's why people get so drunk at the beach, or when they go to tropical islands or when they are out fishing or sunbathing. She says the sun must have an effect on drunkenness.
Do you think we can use the warm weather as a defense for her DUI? It was one of the recent warm and sunny days, and she got sunburn too.
M.N. in Cumming, GA
Answer: Your daughter raises an interesting question, but we have done research and have not found any evidence in the scientific literature of a link between warm weather and an enhanced blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, or that warm weather would cause a falsely high BAC reading. BAC is a way of measuring the amount of alcohol in a person's body. BAC is commonly tested with a blood, breath or urine test.
That people tend to drink more on beach vacations or while fishing or sunbathing is the reason they are getting drunk, not because the weather has an impact on their ability to process alcohol. Warm, sunny weather has not been shown, in any of the studies we reviewed, to have any impact on the body's ability to metabolize alcohol. Although, if a person becomes dehydrated because they are in the sun, they will likely get intoxicated more quickly.
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