You know the risks of driving after a night of drinking. You understand the realistic risk of causing an accident, along with the risk of getting arrested on DUI charges. After the party winds down, you just sleep on a friend’s couch, wake up the next morning and then head out. You feel like you made the safe choice, the responsible choice, but could you actually get a DUI anyway?

You can. It depends on how far your BAC really dropped. It doesn’t happen as fast as many people assume, and you should never assume that the fact that you caught a few hours of sleep means you’re good to go. 

There are a few things to keep in mind. First off, your weight plays a large role in your BAC. So does your gender. The biggest issue, though, is just time. 

Say you are a 160-pound man who had eight drinks. It will generally take you about 12 hours to get all the way back to a BAC of zero. If you crashed on that couch for six hours, you’re nowhere close to zero. 

Or, say you are a 120-pound woman who had five drinks. It will also take you about 12 hours to get all the way back to zero. You may feel like you’re ready to drive after six hours of sleep since you know you didn’t drink as much as others at the party, but your gender and smaller size means you could still be too drunk to drive. 

If you do get arrested the next morning on DUI charges, be sure you understand your legal defense options