Texas is among several states with zero tolerance laws. This means any person under the age of 21 found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than zero, is charged with a DUI. These zero tolerance laws also apply to those over the age of 21. Texas drivers know that they are considered legally drunk if they drive and they have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. However, it is possible to be arrested for DWI when your BAC is under 0.08 percent, which is often the case with an alcoholic hangover. Situations where an officer could justifiably make a DWI arrest without testing for an over-the-limit BAC level include not using the normal level of mental faculties behind the wheel, on the fence BAC tests and compromised physical faculties, which means a safety first policy is optimal to comply with zero-tolerance protocols.
If an officer finds a driver is noticeably impaired, they can arrest that driver no matter what their actual or tested BAC level is. Reckless driving such as tailgating, speeding or speeding through turns are all noticeable indicators of possible impairment. Thus, someone with a hangover could be arrested for displaying any of these reckless driving habits. Their BAC level may not be at the legal limit, but the officer can still rightfully arrest them because of their lack of normal faculties behind the wheel
From the perspective of Texas law enforcement agents, a lower BAC test of under 0.08 percent to 0.04 percent is questionable. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard and can be pulled over and arrested for an on-the-fence reading of as low as 0.04 percent.
Driving home with a hangover may be just as dangerous as driving after too many glasses of alcohol, according to a sobering study. A team of Dutch researchers found that “the magnitude of driving impairment during alcohol hangover is comparable to a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 %, i.e., over the legal limit for driving in many countries.” Analysis of the data showed that with a hangover, drivers showed the same pattern of weaving in and out of their lane as drivers who were over the legal BAC limit.
Several factors affect the amount of time it may take the body to eliminate alcohol including alcohol concentration of particular beverages and absorption rate affected by the amount of food in the stomach. Such factors may cause alcohol to linger in the body for a longer period of time than anticipated. When a designated driver is unavailable, drunk individuals may choose to rideshare home only to return the next day to pick up their vehicle and drive it home. Although the scenario may seem safe, there are various alternatives available in order to avoid the potential dangers of driving with a hangover.
- Make transportation plans before going out;
- Designate a sober driver;
- Wait it out or have someone else pick up your vehicle.
These are all situations where you could have been arrested for DWI even though your BAC level was under the legal limit. Do you need help challenging your charges? Get the professional help of The Hadi Law Firm. If you were arrested for DWI and your BAC was under 0.08, contact us and we will help you keep your Texas driver’s license from automatic suspension. Our Houston DWI defense attorney offers free case evaluations. For immediate assistance, give us a call now to address your case.