It is surprisingly common for otherwise responsible motorists to misstep after assuming that they will be able to gauge their own intoxication effectively after consuming alcohol.
Unfortunately, most people have a hard time evaluating their own degree of intoxication. Anyone who is pulled over for bad driving who then fails a chemical breath test will likely get arrested. There are also certain circumstances in which people could face driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges without actually having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.08%.
When could someone with a lower BAC potentially face DWI charges in Missouri?
When their driving is truly dangerous
Some people can exhibit significant impairment even when they are under the legal limit. Police officers can arrest those who aren’t over the per se BAC limit based on how dangerously they drive.
When they have taken medication
There are numerous prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications that will react with alcohol.
Medications ranging from muscle relaxants to cold and flu remedies could have a profound impact on someone’s alcohol tolerance or the level of impairment they experience after drinking even a small amount of alcohol. Someone could be well under the legal limit for their BAC and still drive in a manner that makes them seem obviously drunk to the police officers that pull them over.
When they drive a commercial vehicle
There are stricter rules for alcohol use when someone is in control of a commercial vehicle, like a semi-truck. It only takes a BAC of 0.04% for someone operating a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license DWI charges.
When they can’t legally drink
The zero-tolerance law in Missouri means that any driver under the age of 21 could end up charged with a DWI for a BAC of just 0.02%, which is low enough that someone may not have any visible signs of impairment.
Anytime someone seems to be impaired behind the wheel, the state could charge them based on their seemingly diminished driving skill. Understanding the basis for the DWI charges brought by the state can help a defendant who is facing charges work with a legal professional to construct a strong defense strategy.