"What is a standard drink?" (PDF), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Updated 2005. From filed in Alcoholism 101. In the United States, a standard drinks is any alcoholic beverage that contains 0.6 fluid ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol. That equals about 1.2 tablespoons of alcohol. The following are generally considered one standard drink:
--12 oz. of beer or wine cooler
--8-9 oz. of malt liquor
--5 oz. table wine
--3-4 oz. fortified wine (sherry or port)
--2-3 oz. of liqueur, cordial or apertif
--1.5 oz. of brandy
--1.5 oz. of spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.)
The above examples are approximate because many brands and types of alcoholic beverages vary in actual alcohol content. Check the label for percent of alcohol content. Address:

Below are samples of some of the issues and other information found on New address: or sign up for their newsletter.

"Why you should never drink and drive", Buddy T., verywell.
25 years of research has shown that some impairment begins for both males and females even after one drink.

.02 BAC Level
At the .02 blood alcohol concentration level, experiments have demonstrated that people exhibit some loss of judgment, begin to relax and feel good. But tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level experience a decline in visual functions, affecting their ability to track a moving object, and experience a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.

These changes may be very subtle and barely noticeable to the person who has had only one drink, but in an emergency situation while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they could cause the driver to react (or not react) as they would without having had a drink.

.05 BAC Level
At the .05 BAC level, people begin to exhibit exaggerated behavior, experience loss of small-muscle control -- such as being able to focus their eyes quickly -- have impaired judgment, lowered alertness and a release of inhibition.

If someone with a BAC level of .05 gets behind the wheel, they would be operating the vehicle with reduce coordination, a future diminished ability to track moving objects, more difficulty in steering and a markedly reduced response in emergency situations.

.08 BAC Level
When someone drinking is approaching the borderline of legal intoxication, studies show that he or she has poor muscle coordination -- affecting their balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing -- find it more difficult to detect danger, and exhibit impaired judgment, self-control, reasoning ability and memory. Address:

Alcohol and Crime
U. S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics
This report was prepared as background data for the Assistant Attorney General's April 5-7 National Symposium on Alcohol Abuse and Crime. It provides an overview of national information on the role of alcohol in violent victimization and its use among those convicted of crimes. Victim perceptions of alcohol use by offenders at the time of the crime are provided as well as the extent to which alcohol is involved in different categories of crime. The report also summarizes information from national surveys of offenders under probation supervision in the community and offenders incarcerated in local jails and State prisons to learn more about their typical drinking behavior and alcohol use at the time of their crime. Estimates of offender blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC's) at the time of the offense are compared to those of drunken drivers involved in fatal accidents. The report also provides special analyses of alcohol use and domestic violence among murderers. 4/98 NCJ 168632


updated 12/06/16