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Can you get a DWI if you’re under the limit?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | DWI Law

Did you know that you could still face a DWI even if you were under the .08% limit during a traffic stop? Most people assume that they’ll be free to go if they blow under .08%, but the reality is that that isn’t the case.

Your body may become impaired long before you reach the .08% limit, which is why the police have methods of determining if you’re too intoxicated to drive despite being under the per-se legal limit. They may ask you to perform field sobriety tests and decide from those that you are too impaired to continue on. If the police feel that they have enough supporting evidence, then they may arrest you at the scene of the traffic stop.

A DWI doesn’t have to be linked to alcohol

Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol isn’t the only substance that could lead to a DWI. Over-the-counter medications that make you drowsy, prescription medications with unusual side effects and illicit drugs may also be impairing and lead to a traffic stop and subsequent arrest. Even if your blood alcohol concentration comes back under .08%, it’s possible that you could still face penalties for being impaired with other substances.

How does alcohol affect you at different levels?

Alcohol has an impact at lower levels than .08%, so some people may be too intoxicated to drive before reaching that level of alcohol in their blood. If your BAC is less than .02%, then you may have some low-level impairment. You might be more relaxed or feel warm.

By the time you reach a .05% BAC, your behavior will begin to change. You start to lose control of your motor functions at this point, and your vision may become blurrier.

As you drink more, your BAC will rise and cause further impairment. If you combine alcohol with medications or drugs, then you may be impaired long before your BAC reaches .08%.

If you’re stopped and accused of driving while impaired, know that you can stand up for your rights. You deserve a chance to defend yourself and to fight the charges, since they could have a lasting impact on your life.


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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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