Of course, not every out-of-state visitor drives drunk. Even so, many people wind up getting pulled over for things completely unrelated to alcohol such as broken tail-lights or malfunctioning turn signals. This, in turn, often leads to unexpected requests for testing to determine impairment.
One thing leads to another
In many situations where a police officer makes a traffic stop for a suspected vehicle violation, he or she claims to smell alcohol on a driver’s breath. Even though you only had a small amount of alcohol, the next thing you know, the officer requests that you exit the vehicle, participate in field sobriety tests and submit to a breath test. Without warning, you could find yourself under arrest.
In order to avoid such problems, some people simply choose to abstain from alcohol when they know they’ll be driving a car the same evening. However, just because you enjoy an alcoholic beverage with friends at dinner, that doesn’t necessarily mean you break the law if you drive yourself home.
The proof is in the what?
If you answered “pudding” when you read that, you’re likely not alone. However, when it comes to drunk driving, the law says the proof lies in your blood alcohol concentration level, which officials generally determine through three types of tests.
Blood test: If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, officials will more than likely request a blood draw to check for the presence of alcohol in your body. Prosecutors often rely on the results of these tests to provide evidence of your impairment in court.
Urine test: It takes several hours after consumption for alcohol to become detectable in urine. Once alcohol reaches the urine, it can remain there for an entire 24-hour period. If a police officer chooses this type of test, it may not prove you were drinking at the time of the traffic stop. Results often show much higher or lower BAC levels than at the time of the officer stopped you, thus making this a rather unreliable test.
Breath test: Most motorists know about this test. Various types of breath testing devices exist, but most people know about the Breathalyzer device. Refusing to submit to this test could come with automatic consequences such as the suspension of your driver’s license. Prosecutors often rely on the results of these tests to provide evidence of your impairment in court.
If an officer pulls you over and arrests you for drunk driving, try not to panic. Understanding your rights and other aspects of the process could help you make sound decisions toward challenging any charges filed against you. Not ever arrest results in a conviction or jail time.
A strong defense often includes a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who not only has keen understanding of drunk driving laws in this state, but also understands what aspects of your case require intense scrutiny such as the validity of any BAC testing results. He or she also provides insight into which defense options may increase your chances of obtaining positive results in court.