If you limit yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks because you are planning to drive home in Maricopa County, Arizona, you may want to reconsider. According to Arizona DUI law, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent is illegal. However, even if you have a much lower BAC, you could still be arrested for driving under the influence if the arresting officer can show that you are even slightly impaired, and one drink could affect you more than you realize.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on the level of impairment that coincides with BAC percentage. At .02 percent, you might feel relaxed and experience a loss of ability to track moving targets. Approximately three alcoholic drinks cause a loss of coordination, and this amount also affects your ability to steer or respond to emergencies. The type of alcohol consumed may also play a role in how fast impairment occurs. Hard liquors have a higher concentration of alcohol compared with something like a beer or a brewed ale.
A study from the University of California, San Diego indicates that even a driver who has had one drink is much more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash. Since law enforcement makes the initial determination of impairment based on roadside tests such as the walk-and-turn test or the one leg stand test, any alcohol at all in the blood could lead to a DUI arrest if you are unable to perform these successfully. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the effects of alcohol impairment.