If you have been a drinker throughout your adult life, you may think you have a good idea of how much alcohol you can consume without becoming intoxicated. You should realize, though, that the human body processes alcohol differently after age 65. 

New York has some tough penalties for drunk driving, especially when doing so results in a serious injury. While you may never have had a DWI charge in the past, metabolic changes in your body may cause your blood alcohol concentration to surpass the legal limit. Put simply, consuming the same number of drinks before driving may now land you in legal trouble. 

Metabolic changes 

When you drink alcohol, it passes directly through your stomach and into your small intestine. After absorption there, your liver metabolizes alcohol. Metabolic changes after age 65 may cause your liver to process alcohol more slowly than before. Further, the loss of lean muscle mass that comes with aging may cause a higher concentration of alcohol to stay in your bloodstream. 

Alcohol consumption 

Because your liver and muscle mass may cause alcohol to remain in your blood longer, you may not be able to drink as quickly in your golden years as you did when you were younger. While relying on a designated driver, calling a cab or taking a rideshare are effective ways to avoid a DWI charge, you may also want to limit alcohol consumption. Also, you likely want to think about drinking slowly. 

Drug interactions 

As you age, you may develop chronic and other medical conditions that require you to take either over-the-counter or prescription medication. You must be careful when combining alcohol with certain drugs, though. Even if you thoroughly research drug interactions, it is best to abstain from driving after consuming any alcohol until you understand how new medication affects you. 

You do not want to get through most of your life without a DWI charge only to face legal trouble after your 65th birthday. By understanding how alcohol is likely to affect you differently as you age, you can better plan for staying out of jail and keeping your driving privileges.