Can you get drunk off food?
A Wisconsin jury recently denied a man’s claim that he was not driving drunk, but had simply eaten beer-battered fish and that’s why his breath smelled like alcohol.
The man was pulled over in 2014 due to erratic driving. The responding officer noted the odor of alcohol (from the fish, allegedly) on the man’s breath and an open can of beer in the passenger seat (d’oh!)
The police conducted a breath test and found that the man had a BAC of .06. While that does not meet the standard threshold for a DUI, the man has a storied history with drunk driving. This conviction marks his tenth DUI, and he was also driving on a revoked license.
Getting Drunk On Food – Myths and Facts
Conventional wisdom says that when you cook food with alcohol, the alcohol is burnt off during the process, so there’s no way you can get drunk. Conventional wisdom is wrong.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of alcohol retained after cooking is totally dependent on the preparation method and the amount of time you cook for, and even a long cooking time does not guarantee that the alcohol will be totally removed from your dish. Baked or simmered dishes with alcohol stirred in lose 60 percent of the alcohol after 15 minutes of cooking time – but after 2.5 hours of cooking, 5 percent of the alcohol still remains.
When alcohol is added to a boiling dish and the dish is removed from heat (if you’re making a sauce reduction, for example), as much as 85 percent of the alcohol can still be present!
So, to wrap up: beer batter, alcoholic or nonalcoholic? Beer batter takes only moments to cook, so some alcohol would be retained. However, beer does not have a high percentage of alcohol typically, and you would have to eat a ton of beer-battered fish to come close to a .06 BAC. Also, the man in the story still had that open beer can, which does not make his case easier to argue.
Our drunk driving defense attorneys serve the greater Denver area and will examine your case carefully to determine your best course of action.