Driving under influence (DUI) also referred to as driving under intoxication, is a very serious offence. A conviction of a DUI charge is punishable with fines, probation, license suspension, attending mandatory alcohol program or DUI School and even in some instances jail time.
There are generally two main charges of a DUI which are having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 while driving and another charge is being under the influence of alcohol while driving. The difference is seen when considering a person’s tolerance for alcohol. There are some people who are accustomed to heavy drinking, and may have a BAC of 0.08% or above but may not be impaired or intoxicated by the alcohol. Regardless, this is still in violation of the law and the individual may still be arrested convicted with DUI. Same applies to a person with little alcohol tolerance, which may be impaired with an alcohol level below 0.08%. The individual may still be charged with DUI with a BAC below 0.08%.
There are instances where a person is arrested for DUI but they are not drunk. One common instance is when a BAC test is administered an hour or longer from the time when the person was arrested. This can be argued on grounds that during this hour, the body continues to absorb the alcohol in the body, making the results very exaggerated and inflated. Hence it is possible that the person was not drunk during the time of arrest.
Another scenario where a person could be arrested for DUI but are not drunk is the instance where FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests) are administered. If the person fails these tests, the officer may arrest the individual for DUI. However the person may not be drunk, rather the results of this test may have been affected by factors. These include the person’s mood where he or she may fail due to nerves. Also the physical slope of the ground can affect FSTs, where the person could slip and fall leading the officer to believe that the person is drunk. In addition, the person may lack any physical coordination to enable him to pass the FSTs. Distractions too may affect FSTs results, say a loud noise or a passing vehicle. All these factors are grounds that can argue that an individual was in fact sober during the FSTs.
During occurrences where a breath test is administered, the test may give false results that a person is drunk. Eating, drinking, belching, vomiting or even simply burping can lead to the breath test giving highly erroneous results. In fact the officer is supposed to observe you for fifteen minutes before making you take the test, in order to give accurate results. If any of the above happens and the person fails the breath test, they could be arrested for DUI but in real sense, they are actually sober.
Finally, when administering a blood test, there are certain conditions that have to be adhered to, to ensure that accurate and not fictitious results are got. These include the presence of an authorized technician to do the drawing, sterilizing the draw site using non-alcoholic based cleaning agents, proper storage of drawn blood sample, etc. if these conditions are not adhered to, the blood sample drawn may be contaminated and the results become compromised. The results may result to the person being arrested but not drunk.
There have been instances where persons are arrested but yet they were not intoxicated. However with an experienced DUI lawyer, these charges may be waived if proof that while you were driving, you were not drunk.