Drunk driving is illegal largely because it leads to crashes. People who get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink have longer reaction times, compromised decision-making ability and difficulty staying awake. The negative effects of alcohol on driving ability put everyone on public roads at risk of a crash.
Police officers will typically test the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision. A test result over the legal limit could result in someone getting arrested at the scene of the crash. Police officers will also perform chemical breath tests when they suspect impairment based on how someone drives.
Can someone whose driving was normal and who didn’t cause a crash wind up accused of drunk driving?
Yes, people can face technical drunk driving charges
For the state to claim that you demonstrated impaired driving ability, there will typically need to be a record of problematic driving behavior. However, not all drunk driving charges focus on someone’s performance at the wheel. There are also technical or per se drunk driving charges possible.
When someone has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they have exceeded the per se limit. Even if the alcohol does not affect your driving ability, getting behind the wheel when your BAC is over the legal limit is still against the law. You will not be able to defend against charges based on the lack of impairment if chemical testing shows that your BAC was too high at the time of a traffic stop.
How can you defend against per se charges?
When the only evidence the police officer has of your impairment at the wheel is a chemical test, that lack of evidence may pave the way for someone’s defense.
One possible way to defeat allegations that you had too much alcohol in your bloodstream is to challenge the results of the breath test. Whether you have a plausible explanation for the inaccurate results or question the calibration and maintenance performed by the police department, undermining the reliability of the test could be a way to avoid a criminal conviction.
Learning more about drunk driving laws will help you avoid criminal charges or fight back when facing DUI allegations.