Pierce County DUI attorney explains alcohol “tolerance”

In my practice as a Pierce County DUI attorney, my clients often ask whether their drinking habits will play a role in their case. Whether the prosecutor will make your drinking habits an issue in the case is hard to predict. Easier to predict, though, is the effect your drinking habits have on your ability to tolerate alcohol, and this factor will play a role in your case.

What does alcohol “tolerance” mean?

Tolerance results from metabolic changes and changes in the nervous system. A decreased amount of alcohol reaching the area when the effect is produced, and lowered responsiveness of the tissue to the alcohol are the two major mechanisms responsible for tolerance development.

Two factors contribute to a person’s ability to tolerate alcohol:

  1. Repeated exposure to the same dose of alcohol decreases the effects of alcohol.
  2. This effect can be achieved again if the dose is increased.

Is there more than one type of tolerance?

Yes. Several types of tolerance exist. Acquired tolerance results from changes in the way the body absorbs, distributes, and eliminates alcohol, and from cell resistance to the effects of alcohol. Behavioral tolerance is the result of a person learning to hide the outward signs and effects of intoxication by repeated exposure to elevated alcohol levels. Acute tolerance occurs when a person is less impaired at the same blood alcohol concentration during the elimination (falling) portion of the alcohol curve than during absorption (rising) portion.

Contact experienced Pierce County DUI attorney

As you can see, tolerance is a complicated issue.  An experienced Pierce County DUI attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and understand what role, if any, your ability to tolerate alcohol will play in your case.  If you would like to meet with me to discuss your situation, please contact me for a free initial consultation.