Genetics and DWI: Is There a Connection?

So you’re facing your third (or fourth) DWI arrest. Here in New Hampshire, that means you’re now dealing with felony charges. If convicted, you’re facing mandatory jail time, plus an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license. But beyond these challenges, you’re now wondering if something is wrong with you. Do you have a problem with alcoholism? Perhaps you’re even wondering if you were born with a propensity for DWI. Is it true? Are you somehow genetically fated to have problems with alcoholism resulting in continued DWIs?

While there certainly is a possibility that your propensity for alcohol is genetic, that does not mean you’re doomed to fight DWIs all your life. Let’s explore this question a bit further.

The Connection Between Alcoholism and Genetics

Alcoholism is a disease, and numerous studies have confirmed the link between genetics and the development of this addiction. Some research has shown that genetics play at least a 50 percent role in the development of alcoholism. People who have family members with alcoholism are more likely to develop it themselves than those who don’t have any relatives with this disorder. But just because you may be genetically predisposed or come from an alcoholic family doesn’t mean that you will automatically develop the disease yourself. For example, if your parents were both alcoholics, but they didn’t drink around you when you were growing up, your chances of developing a dependency on alcohol might decrease significantly. Bottom line: having certain genes doesn’t guarantee that you will develop a drinking problem–they simply indicate whether you’re more likely to develop one, and therefore whether you should use more caution around alcohol or avoid it altogether.

Can Genes Make You More Vulnerable to DWI?

While there is a clear connection between genetics and alcoholism itself, there’s no clear evidence to suggest you’re more likely to drive while intoxicated based on your genetic makeup. Granted, people who struggle with alcohol abuse are statistically more likely to be arrested for DWI than those with no such issue. However, the decision to drink and drive is primarily a behavioral issue, not a genetic one. Even if you currently feel out of control concerning alcohol consumption, you can still choose not to get behind the wheel. And if alcohol clouds your judgment (as it does for so many), getting an accountability partner can go a long way toward preventing further DWIs as you seek treatment for your disease.

Whether you’re facing your first DWI or you’re having a repeat issue, our DWI defense attorneys can help. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A., to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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