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How can lack of sleep contribute to a DUI?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2020 | DUI |

The possibility of a DUI arrest is why you try to keep your blood alcohol level from exceeding legal limits while driving, even refraining from a drink or two if necessary. Still, there is the chance a police officer might find evidence of a DUI on you simply because you did not get enough sleep the following night. 

Men’s Health reported on a study from the Human Psychopharmacology journal that looked at a number of men and how they reacted to alcohol consumption after receiving varying levels of sleep. The results should concern drivers whose sleeping habits may contribute to an unfair DUI. 

Sleep and alcohol consumption

The study separated men into four different groups. One group had a normal cycle of sleep with no alcoholic drinks after waking up. Another group slept normally but ingested enough drinks afterward to have a 0.05 BAC level. A third group slept for just five hours but had no drinks. The fourth group slept for five hours and drank enough to reach a 0.05 BAC level. 

The results found that the fourth group of men experienced the greatest amount of physical impairment following their limited amount of sleep and alcohol consumption. They showed the slowest reaction time and poorest performance in attention tests. Their performance took two and a half hours after drinking to return to normal. 

Lack of sleep and DUIs

This study indicates that you may have a problem if you do not get enough sleep, have a mild amount of drinks, and then have to perform a field sobriety test for a police officer. Sobriety tests depend on following instructions from an officer and may include maintaining balance in a walk and turn test. 

If you have impaired senses, you could fail these tests even if your BAC level is below the legal limit. This could lead to an unfair arrest and a legal battle to clear your name of the charge.