While the term “drunk driver” might bring to mind a heavy drinker staggering out of the bar and falling into their pick-up truck each night, the reality is often different. Almost anybody can end up with a drunk driving charge after a simple night out and a glass of wine or two.
Getting arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a common way that law-abiding folks from all walks of life end up with a criminal record. In almost all cases, you can — and should — contest the charges.
The way the police decide someone is drunk is not always accurate
An officer may decide you have been drinking due to the way you drive. Jerky vehicle movements could be down to alcohol. Yet, they could also be due to you struggling to stay awake at the wheel, a leg injury, problems with your night vision or because your phone or bag fell off your seat.
If you do not maintain a straight driving line, that too could be due to drinking. Alternatively, it could be a steering gear issue or something such as a bee entering your car and you trying to swat it out the window while not getting stung.
If the police decide you are drunk because you fail their field sobriety tests, that again could have many explanations. You might have inner ear issues that cause you to fail to horizontal gaze test or a poor balance that means you cannot stand on one leg or struggle to walk in a straight line.
Even the police breathalyzers can be wrong, especially if they lack maintenance and calibration. Certain prescription medications can also cause breathalyzers to read high.
There are several ways to challenge a DWI charge
Arguing that you were not over the limit is one defense option. You could also challenge how the police carried out the stop and arrest. The only certainty is that if you do not attempt to contest a DWI charge, you guarantee yourself a criminal record and the penalties that come with it.