Clearly, anyone can get a DWI — at any age. A 16-year-old who drinks at a party can get arrested, even though drinking itself is illegal, as underage drinking certainly happens. A 65-year-old retiree could also get arrested after having too many drinks with friends at a local bar. There is no stereotype that can apply to all cases.
That being said, the statistics can tell us which age groups are most likely to get arrested on DWI charges. It is interesting to consider what this may mean when considering one’s defense options.
The statistics from the NHTSA
The exact statistics clearly change all the time, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tracked many of them. They provide the following, which shed some light on the situation:
- 27% of drivers with a BAC over the legal limit are between 21 and 24 years of age, which is the highest percentage for any age group.
- 25% of drunk drivers are between 25 and 34 years of age, making this the second-largest group.
- It is four times as likely that a drunk driver will be male than female, indicating that men are the largest risk-takers.
Judging by these statistics, your average drunk driver is simply going to be a young man between 21 and 34 years of age. While drinking itself is legal for all of these individuals, they are accused of breaking the law when operating a vehicle after doing so. Younger drivers can get DWI charges more easily, with a lower legal limit, but this happens less because drinking is illegal.
It’s hard not to wonder if the police tend to scrutinize the driving habits of young, male drivers more than others. That could, in turn, lead to unwarranted traffic stops and drunk driving investigations that should have never happened. If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving at any age, be sure you know exactly what legal options you have moving forward.