Signs of Alcohol Intoxication

Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Just two or three drinks can cause some people to act in ways that they normally would not. Loud or slurred speech, exaggerated movements and unsteady balance are the most common symptoms exhibited.

One of these signs alone may not be cause to suspect intoxication. However, a combination of any of these would lead someone to suspect that the person is intoxicated or becoming intoxicated.

Employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages should be aware of the following signs of intoxication:


  • Stands with feet wide apart for balance.
  • Leans against structure for support.
  • Fumbles with wallet or money.
  • Slurs or trips over words while ordering.

Reduced Judgment and Inhibitions:

  • Becomes overly excited.
  • Speaks loudly and/or profanely.
  • Throws objects.
  • Giggles or laughs for no apparent reason.


  • Red or watery eyes.
  • Droopy eyelids or tired appearance.
  • Squints continuously.
  • Closes or covers one eye to remove double vision.


  • Slow or deliberate movements.
  • Slow or no response to questions.
  • Slow or no reaction to actions such as spilling a beer on oneself.

Manners & Appearance:

  • Frequently rubs hands through face and hair.
  • Sometimes has involuntary eye movement.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom.
  • Strong, stale odor of alcohol.