Too many motorists are surprised to learn that just one drink can mean DWI charges.
If you were to ask drivers what constitutes a DWI in Texas, most would say that you need to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. Many drivers also believe that to get to this level, one must drink at least two drinks. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, less than that amount can still get drivers charged with a DWI, depending on their own tolerance for alcohol, the police officer’s own discretion during a traffic stop, and even what they have eaten.
Factors That Affect BAC
No one should ever use the standard that having only two drinks will ensure that they do not get charged with DWI. This is because alcohol affects people differently. While one person could have up to three drinks and not be considered legally drunk, another may not even be able to have one.
One main factor that affects this is a person’s weight. The heavier a person is, the more water there is in his or her bloodstream. That causes the alcohol to become more diluted and therefore, lowers that person’s BAC. Due to this, if a smaller person drank even just one drink, it could raise his or her BAC over the legal limit.
Additionally, it is important to consider that the body produces alcohol all the time, and alcoholic drinks are not the only items that contain alcohol. Things such as mouthwash, cough syrup, and even bread, also contain small amounts of alcohol. When the alcohol in these items is combined with even just one drink, it may raise a person’s BAC over the legal limit.
Officer’s Discretion and DWI
During a DWI traffic stop, police officers have a lot of discretion. Even when roadside breath tests show less than 0.08 BAC, the officer can still arrest someone if they believe they are not sober enough to drive.
Breathalyzers are also notoriously unreliable. Not only does their calibration often experience problems, but they also cannot fully detect how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. They can only really estimate. As such, an officer must use the approximate result of the test and their own discretion when determining whether or not a driver is drunk.
In order to secure a conviction for a DWI, the prosecution and the officer must show that the driver was showing signs of intoxication. These signs may include slurred speech, erratic driving, and lack of coordination. If the officer can show that there were these signs, or others, to indicate a person was driving while intoxicated, any charges laid may stand.
Were You Charged with a DUI? Call Our Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers
Although many motorists do not realize it, just one drink is sometimes enough to result in DWI charges. Any time someone is charged with DWI, they should speak to our Austin criminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller, PC. We know there are defenses available, and we will use them to help you retain your freedom. Call us today at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online so we can discuss your case.