How Long Does the Alcohol Last in the Breath

We all went through this, we went out with friends to have a few drinks and without realizing we ended up getting drunk. So now you ask yourself, how long does the alcohol last in breath? The answer to this question will depend on different factors.

This should be carefully calculated because you will not want to risk being arrested or causing a terrible accident to believe that you were more sober than you actually were.

How Long Does the Alcohol Last in the Breath

General information

Before you know how long the alcohol in blood lasts you have to understand what it means to be drunk. In most states in the United States, a person is considered drunk when their blood alcohol content (CAS) is 0.08% or higher. Each unit of alcohol adds 0.02-0.03% to your CAS and the liver can reduce your CAS by 0.01- 0.02% per hour.

This does not mean that each drink adds 0.02 – 0.03% to your CAS, but it is each alcohol unit that adds it up. One unit of alcohol is 14 g, or 17 g of pure alcohol. This is equivalent to a 34 cal beer with 5% alcohol or 14 cal wine with 12% alcohol.

So if your margarita takes three shots of tequila, it is not considered a single drink, but three. It is important to realize this, since to find out how much alcohol you have in your blood you have to know how much you have drunk.

Everyone is different, so the figures and percentages will always be orientated. There are a number of factors that influence the time of drunkenness. Some are: the weight, the sex, the medication and the amount of food and drink that we have ingested.


As drunkenness is measured by the percentage of alcohol the blood has, the more blood you have, the less time it will last in the body. Therefore, those who weigh more will regain sobriety before, as they would need more alcohol to concentrate in the blood.

Also Read: The Top Treatment for Alcoholism

In addition, for a person of larger size to experience the same effect as a smaller person will need a higher dose of alcohol. Also, a small person gets drunk more quickly and will be in this state for a longer time.


One of the biological differences between men and women is that men’s bodies tend to process alcohol more quickly than women. In addition, these more alcohol affects them and your CAS will also increase faster.

The way they both process alcohol is also different, in women alcohol is metabolized more slowly in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. In this way, more alcohol will enter the blood and the CAS will rise.

In contrast, in the case of men, alcohol is further processed in the stomach, which means that the absorption rate is lower. So men will need more drinks to feel the same effect as women.

This process will cause men to regain sobriety before women, despite having drunk the same.


Medication is another factor of great importance. There are certain drugs that thin the blood, this will cause your CAS to increase and go faster, while your liver will continue to process the same amount.

In addition, there are even some medications that can slow down the time your liver metabolizes alcohol. This means it will take longer to remove alcohol from your body.

As we see, some medications will cause you to be drunk for longer.


He who is accustomed to alcohol knows from experience how foods affect drunkenness and its duration.

Food slows down the body’s absorption rate of alcohol, this means that less alcohol will be introduced into your body and your CAS will be less.

Food also increases blood flow to the liver and other enzymes. This makes the liver work faster and improves the process to regain sobriety. So a good breakfast will help you feel better after a night out.

As we see, food has a double effect on drunkenness and its duration; slows down the process of alcohol absorption and at the same time increases the rate of alcohol metabolism.

This is one of the most important factors in estimating the duration of intoxication.


Water is equal to or more important than food when determining the duration of drunkenness, as drinking water dilutes the amount of alcohol in the body, which decreases the CAS.

It will always depend on the person in question, but this is a way to decrease CAS.


As we see, there are several complex factors involved in the state of intoxication. It is important to keep these factors in mind and to know that everyone can be influencing at the same time.

For example, a man weighing 77 kg, who does not take medication and has eaten well, will be drunk for less time than a woman weighing 59 kg, who takes blood pressure medications and has not eaten any food, although both have taken the same amount of alcohol.

It is important to keep in mind when you want to find out how drunk you are and how long it will take to recover, not one or two of these factors, but all of them. Failure to consider these factors can lead to tragic situations, so be careful!

So how long does the alcohol last in the blood?

Let us calculate it, assuming that the human body can process 0.02% CAS per hour. The formula that can be used for this calculation is: multiply the drinks by 0.02 minus 0.02 multiplied by the number of hours you drink.

If you start drinking at ten at night and stop drinking at midnight, and you have taken 10 alcoholic drinks, then your CAS will be: 10 x 0,02 – (0,02 x 2) or 16%. Your CAS will decrease by 0.02% every hour. In this case, at 4 in the morning you will be in the legal limit in most of the states of America, that is, 0.08%. At 8 am the next day your CAS will be reset.

Clever readers will realize that this also explains hangover mornings. If you have not slept long enough to process all the alcohol in your body, when you wake up drunk you will not be gone.

This, together with the accumulation of metabolites produced by the body when it is processed alcohol, causes the dreaded hangover that so many people have experienced.

In this case of which we are speaking, all the factors we have mentioned and explained above may influence. So if you’re wondering if you can drive, you should keep in mind that the figures in this guide are just estimates.