You probably think of those who get DUIs as people who have gone beyond reasonable drinking and gotten drunk before trying to drive home. You might imagine someone who is so intoxicated that they can’t make heads or tails of what an officer is saying or asking them to do.
The truth is that DUIs aren’t always a result of excessive drinking. Even those who drink responsibly may end up with a DUI if they decide to drive after a drink or two. How?
To begin with, someone who makes a driving error may be stopped by the police. For example, if you swerve out of your lane suddenly or cut someone off in traffic, the police might decide to pull you over to talk to you about the violation.
During that traffic stop, the police officer may smell alcohol on your breath or simply ask if they can take a Breathalyzer test because of the kind of violation you committed. Since you gave your implied consent to give a Breathalyzer test sample upon request when you got your license, you’ll need to take it. If you refuse, you could lose your license.
Once you take the test, it might show that you have a .04% blood alcohol concentration or even less. Despite that, if you appear impaired or committed a traffic violation that put others in danger, the officer may decide to arrest you for driving while impaired.
While most people know that it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or higher, many don’t realize that you can be arrested for less. Your actions and the appearance of being impaired matter more. This is because you can be impaired by more than just alcohol. Medications and drugs are also impairing substances, and they won’t show up on a simple Breathalyzer test.
If you are stopped, remember that an officer may be able to arrest you under certain circumstances, even if you cooperate and have a lower BAC. You deserve an opportunity to defend yourself if this occurs.