The Uniform Code of Military Justice is a Congressional code of military criminal law that states that anyone who reports to duty and has been found to be drunk will be subject to court martial.

Because of this law, it is important for Marines to consider “what is drunk?” Often “drunk” is defined as a feeling. Some people experience this feeling after only one or two drinks, while others experience it when downing an entire bottle of whiskey.

Drunk is determined by your BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration and is measured by a breath analyzer or breathalyzer.

How then do you determine whether or not you are legally drunk? Several factors play a role on a person’s level of intoxication, including size and weight, body fat of the person, if they drink on an empty stomach, etc.

The amount of alcohol consumed to make one person over the legal limit may not be as much as another.

A general rule of thumb is that one standard drink will raise your BAC to 0.025. Your body naturally eliminates the alcohol at a rate of 0.015 per hour. Nothing can speed up this process. Drinking coffee, eating bread, taking a cold shower all have a fantastic effect of making you “feel” sober but it does nothing to change your BAC, this is only reduced by time.

Now, let’s consider how many standard drinks are in the typical alcoholic drinks consumed. There is one standard drink in a 12 oz. bottle of beer containing 5% alcohol. There is 1.5 standard drinks in a 12oz bottle of malt liquor containing 7% alcohol. A single bottle of wine with 12% alcohol content contains 5 standard drinks. A 750 ml bottle (or a “fifth”) of hard liquor containing 40% alcohol (such as whiskey, rum, or vodka) contains 17 standard drinks. With the math listed above, if someone were to consume 3 drinks they would raise their BAC to 0.075 and will take 5 hours to eliminate the alcohol from their system. This means if someone were to drink twice this, that is 6 standard drinks, it would take 10 hours to eliminate the alcohol from their system. Be aware that developing a BAC of .30 or above, that is 12 or more standard drinks, may be lethal and anything above this is gambling with your life.

It is important to be aware of how much alcohol you are consuming when you have work the next day. Taking the night to “sleep it off” may provide enough time to feel sober but not enough time to reduce the BAC to a limit that is acceptable to report for work. If you choose to drink, be conscientious of your future and give yourself the time to sober up.