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Portland Police: You Can Get an OUI for Drinking White Claws and Driving

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The Portland Police Department felt the need to remind people that hard seltzer can still lead to an arrest for operating under the influence (OUI).

Like many new kinds of alcoholic drinks, people trying it for the first time – or drinking it heavily for the first few times – can face a learning curve before they know how it will make them feel.

The Sudden Popularity of White Claws

This particular drink is known as a White Claw. It’s a brand of the hard seltzers that seem to have become popular overnight.

White Claws come in a variety of flavors, like:

  • Lime
  • Black cherry
  • Mango
  • Raspberry

They all have around 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) and around 100 calories, making them similar to a light beer.

However, unlike beers, hard seltzers like White Claw taste and have the mouth feel of soda, but without the sugar. Without the barley and hops in beer, they are easier to drink, don’t make you feel bloated, and won’t dehydrate you as much as a beer.

In spite of the lack of taste – even in the flavored editions – the low price and drinkability of hard seltzers like White Claws have made them incredibly popular this summer.

Portland Police: There Are Laws When You Drink White Claws

One of the catchphrases for White Claws has come from a video that claims to parody the advertising for the seltzers: “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.”

The Portland Police Department felt the need to correct that sentiment on Twitter.

New Drinks Come With a Learning Curve

Whether you think the Portland PD’s tweet is funny or an attempt at public interaction that deserves an eye-roll, the fact remains that White Claws and other hard seltzers are very different from beer, liquor, or wine. The intoxication that comes from hard seltzers can be tricky to predict for people who have not had them, before, and this can lead to difficult decisions and poor judgments.

In fact, the popularity of hard seltzer largely comes from its drinkability: In an interview with W Magazine, one fan of White Claws said she liked them “because they go down super easily and then suddenly I’m drunk.”

Being “suddenly drunk” is a perfect recipe for an OUI charge. Even if you are at a party or a bar and have a way to get home, being “suddenly drunk” can force you into alternatives.

People who drink beer think that at 5% ABV, White Claws are going to have the same effect on them as usual. That’s not true. Beer drinkers often feel the effects of their beverage on their stomach before the alcohol hits them in the head. With hard seltzers, that reliable precursor is gone.

People who struggle to drink beer, on the other hand, have it even worse. Without a solid understanding of how much and how quickly they can handle a drink with 5% alcohol in it, they can struggle to pace themselves appropriately and drink responsibly.

OUI-Defense in Maine at Maine Criminal Defense Group

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Maine, and the penalties for an OUI conviction are steep.

Call the OUI-defense lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group at (207) 571-8146 or contact them online if you have been accused of drunk driving in Portland, Saco, or Biddeford.


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