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The familiar saying about how or whether a person can "hold his liquor" has its basis in more than just a supposed ability to suppress symptoms of intoxication. There is a body of scientific evidence to show that multiple factors can have a significant effect on how pronounced the effects of drinking alcohol are. These factors include:

Beverage alcoholic content: Different drinks contain different concentrations of alcohol. If you drink "stiffer" alcoholic beverages, these will affect you faster than drinking light beers.

Presence of food in your system: Having food in your stomach before you drink alcohol may not prevent its effects, but it can have a significant effect on how quickly those effects take hold. What you eat can have a bearing (foods higher in protein allow for the processing of alcohol more), and how fast you drink can be important as well (one drink per hour will allow your liver to digest alcohol more efficiently).

Body mass: Weight and percentage of body fat can affect the influence of alcohol on your system. The more of each that you have, the less pronounced the effects of alcohol will be.

Gender: Neither sex has a clear advantage over the other when it comes to being affected by alcohol. Women have a higher body fat percentage than men do, which works in their favor, but enzyme and hormonal differences may offset that advantage.

Medications: Medications have no effect on blood-alcohol concentration, but when combined with alcohol certain medications can interact with it in ways that can amplify the intoxicating effects.

Hydration: Dehydration results in reaching a higher blood-alcohol concentration faster, and also makes the liver less efficient at processing alcohol.

Fatigue: The more tired you are, the less efficiently your liver works and the greater the effect alcohol will have on how soon you become intoxicated.

All of these factors and others can play a role in increasing or decreasing your susceptibility to intoxication, and to a lesser extent can also be considerations in your defense against a charge of drunk driving (particularly medication interactions, illnesses causing dehydration or fatigue). The best defense against the charge of DUI is, naturally, not to drink before driving. The second best defense is to have an attorney who is familiar not only with the applicable law in New York but also with all other considerations that can have a bearing on your legal defense.

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