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Can Energy Drinks Increase the Risk of DUI?

Not long after energy drinks, such as Monster, Amp and Red Bull hit the market, people began to realize that like soda, energy drinks mix well with alcohol. Go to any bar or night club in LA or Orange County and you’ll hear patrons order popular drinks like a “vodka and sugar-free Red Bull.” After all, the energy drinks give them the energy to enjoy a long night.

The question is, do energy drinks combat intoxication by waking you up, or do they have they have a more sinister effect upon the wide awake drunk?

The combination of alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants like ginseng or taurine can create a unique, yet confusing type of intoxication – one where a person is more alert, yet less aware of their actual degree of intoxication.

Energy Drinks Increase the Urge to Drink

Two studies addressed the impact of energy drinks when consumed with alcohol, and how this can affect intoxication. The first study, by the Australian National University by the Center for Research on Aging, Health and Well-Being found that mixing alcohol and energy drinks increased the urge to drink more alcohol.

Participants were given mixed drinks; some contained energy beverages along with alcohol, while others contained only alcohol and juice. Participants took part in a survey 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after drinking their beverages to measure their desire to continue drinking, and participants who consumed the mixtures containing energy drinks reported a greater urge to continue drinking.

The second study, by Wake Forest University addressed the impact a stimulant, like an energy drink, may have on a person when they simultaneously consumes alcohol. The study found that students who were intoxicated were less aware of their own intoxication when they combined stimulants with alcohol. They were also less aware of intoxication in others.

What do these studies have to do with you?

When you consider that energy drinks mixed with alcohol can increase the urge to continue drinking while also reducing one's perception of their own level of intoxication, it’s easy to see how this could increase one's odds of unwittingly driving under the influence.

If you like to mix energy drinks with alcohol, as many of us do, be careful when mixing alcohol and energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster or 5-hour Energy. These drinks can quickly catch up to you, without you knowing it. Designate a driver, and if you find yourself in a situation where you have been pulled over for DUI, remember:

  • Politely refuse to say how if or how much you had to drink.
  • Politely refuse to take the field sobriety tests.
  • Decline to answer any questions without your attorney present.
  • You can decline a PAS test before an arrest, but after an arrest if you decline a breath test, your license will be automatically suspended for one year.

The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. is committed to providing the highest quality DUI defense counsel. To learn more about DUI charges and the steps we can take to protect yourself, call our office for a free, confidential consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!