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Can you still be arrested for DWI if you have high tolerance?

In a nutshell: Yes, you can still be arrested for DWI if you have high alcohol tolerance, although the chances of that happening can be lower.

For example, you might be less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drifting into other lanes or following too closely because of your high tolerance levels. Thus, a police officer could be less likely to pull you over.

However, if you do get pulled over and eventually show a BAC higher than 0.08, talking about your alcohol tolerance levels to police probably will not stave off a charge. Here is a look at why.

Safety reasons

First, police officers hear all manner of excuses. If they let everyone go who claimed to have high alcohol tolerance and the ability to drive safely at a 0.08 BAC, the roads would be more dangerous. There is also the fact that you may not drive as well as you thought you did.

For example, why were you pulled over? Maybe it was due to speeding or an unsafe lane change, things you might not do if no alcohol was in your system. Of course, you could have been pulled over for unrelated reasons, such as a broken taillight. In any case, if it is legal to do so, police officers usually will go ahead and charge you with DWI for safety reasons.

Hurting your defense

There is another reason you should not bring up your high tolerance levels when pulled over. This mention could hurt your defense. Ideally, you should say nothing to the police officer, especially not something like an admission that you have been drinking. Talking about high alcohol tolerance levels is as clear-cut as many admissions come that you have been drinking heavily that day/evening. It also may imply that you make a habit of drinking and driving, something that will not impress prosecutors or judges.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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