In a bizarre incident in Austin, Texas in 2013, a driver was arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated, the Texas equivalent of DUI) after a breath test result of just 0.0%.
The driver fought his DWI charge, but Austin police upheld the arrest based on their "take-no-chances" policy. They cited the driver's performance on the one-leg-stand test as the reason behind the arrest, during which the driver allegedly "needed his arms for balance."
In that incident, the driver was pulled over for a routine traffic stop and was subsequently subjected to field sobriety tests and a breath test, which showed a result of 0.0%, or otherwise zero alcohol in his blood. One would assume that a 0.0% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would prevent an alcohol-related arrest, but he was still arrested for DWI despite having the odds in his favor.
Though the driver submitted to a blood test that showed a negative result for alcohol, he was still arrested based off signs of intoxication, and Austin police suggested that marijuana could have been present in his system that did not show upon the blood test or breath test.
WHAT THIS CASE MEANS TO OC
The Texas case sheds light on an important issue relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs here in Orange County. It shows just how much of an influence law enforcement can have on making an arrest for suspected DUI even if a chemical test shows a negative result.
A DUI arrest can still be made based off performance on field sobriety tests and observations made by the arresting officer, such as a driver's behavior, appearance and statements. Essentially, if it can happen to a driver in Texas, it can happen to a driver in California as well.
CHALLENGING YOUR DUI CHARGES
The Texas 0.0% DWI arrest occurred far from Orange County but should still be viewed as an indicator of the unpredictability of these cases. Drivers should be aware of their rights if pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, such as the right to politely refuse field sobriety testing, and also of the importance of involving an attorney as soon as possible.
When you take immediate action, and involve a DUI attorney, even before formal charges are filed or before a breath test is administered, you have the considerable benefit of a legal professional who is there to protect your best interests.
Law enforcement will be working hard to gather evidence that proves you are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. You need an advocate to help you avoid the serious consequences of a conviction: license suspension, DUI probation, fines, community service, DUI School, AA meetings, and imprisonment.
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., we offer experienced defense counsel to drivers throughout Orange County who have been arrested for DUI. To learn more about our firm and our services, call today.