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Do you have to exceed the legal limit to get a DWI?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2022 | DWI Defense

Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above is enough for a DWI arrest. Authorities can presume that you are impaired by alcohol.

Because of the way that this is set up, people often assume that they have to exceed the legal limit to get a DWI. They think of it as the entire measuring stick, and they assume that staying below that level means that they are not going to be arrested or charged. But is this how it works?

You can be under the limit and still get a DWI

The truth is that you can be under the limit and still be charged with a DWI. A police officer is likely not going to just walk up to the car and give you a portable breath test. They’re not just going to rush you back down to the station to let you take a more advanced test there.

Instead, the officer is going to talk to you and try to determine whether or not you’re impaired. They’re going to consider any driving mistakes you may have made or the reason that they pulled you over to begin with. They may even make you do field sobriety tests to see if you’re impaired by alcohol, regardless of what the blood alcohol level turns out to be.

You can still be charged with a DWI if the officer decides that you are impaired. Of course, this means that the officer is not going to have the benefit of an excessive BAC to help them, which can give you some different options as you look into potential criminal defense strategies.