You go out drinking with a friend. At the end of the night, you remark that you think you’re too drunk to drive. No problem, your friend tells you. You’ll just stop and have a cup of coffee. That will sober you up so that you can drive home safely.
This is a common myth, but make sure you know that it is a myth. No matter how many times people repeat it as well-meaning advice, it is simply not true. Time sobers you up. Coffee does not.
The issue is that your blood alcohol content is not impacted by coffee. If you’re over the limit before the cup of coffee, you’ll be over it afterward. The only way to get your BAC to drop is to wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol. That just takes time.
Why do people think that coffee works? The main reason is that caffeine can wake you up. Many people feel tired, especially if they’ve stayed up later than normal while drinking. Coffee may take your fatigue away so that you can stay awake while you drive, but that’s not the same as driving while you’re sober.
Another potential reason is that it takes time. You have to walk to the coffee shop, order, and then sip the drink as it cools. If you spend an hour getting that coffee, you will be soberer than you were before. The coffee has nothing to do with it, though. It’s just because your BAC can fall, marginally, in an hour.
If you do fall for this myth and you get a DUI, make sure you know what legal options you have. The best defense is one that starts early, so don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney if you’ve been charged.