Distinguishing Between Levels of Impairment
You should know by now that different people react differently to alcohol. Several factors may increase or decrease your level of impairment in DUI cases, including food, drugs, medications, weight, age, etc. Regardless of your level of impairment, however, in every state it is illegal in and of itself to drive with a certain BAC. In most states it's .08. That means whether you are 100 pounds or 400 pounds, a chronic alcoholic or a first time drinker, .08 is your legal limit. Some people will be wasted with .08's worth of alcohol in their blood, but others won't feel the effects at all. Some highly advanced alcoholics are actually more functional at a .080 percent body alcohol level than they are without any alcohol in their system.
Its important to understand that even if it takes you 10 drinks to feel drunk, it could be illegal for you to drive after just having one or two.
It's also important to understand that your driving pattern alone is not what officer's will consider when making a decision to arrest you for DUI. It doesn't take someone driving the wrong way down a one way street to get pulled over. People who are driving perfectly could still be arrested for DUI. Police officers make a determination to arrest you based on a totality of their observations. Driving is just one of many factors they consider. Most people suspected of DUI do not vomit all over the police or fall on their faces upon exiting their cars. The average person does not even start slurring until an alcohol level of 0.180 percent. Other indicators of impairment may lead to a suspicion that you are DUI, such as odor of alcohol, flushed face, fumbling with your wallet or keys, smoking or chewing gum to mask an odor, and many other things.
The constitutional standard for stopping a car is very low, so challenging the basis of your stop can be difficult. If successful, however, it may result in evidence being suppressed or even your entire case being dismissed! That is why it is so important to consult with an attorney to help you defend your case. And remember - be sure to tell your attorney all the circumstances surrounding your stop.
Some states say that the driver of the vehicle must be impaired. In other words, your physical or mental capacity must be diminished by the use of alcohol. It is difficult to argue that after several drinks a person is not impaired to do some things, at least to the slightest degree.
Other states say that the driving must be impaired. This standard is a bit higher. For example, a surgeon may have two beers and be impaired for the task of doing brain surgery, but may be okay to drive a vehicle. In this type of scenario, the prosecutor must prove that your driving, not you personally, was impaired.