Question for Attorney Carbone: Can I Fight a False DUI Charge?
Question: A few weeks ago, a few co-workers and I went to a happy hour to celebrate a colleague’s promotion. Since I had to drive home, I only had one beer and didn’t even finish it. While driving home, I had swerved to miss a squirrel running across the road. The police stopped me, thinking I was driving erratically. I explained the squirrel but the police officer didn’t seem to buy it. He said he smelled the beer on breath and asked me how much I had to drink. I explained I had half a beer and would gladly take a Breathalyzer test. The officer didn’t conduct the test and instead arrested me for DUI. Is there a way to fight this charge? I’m afraid I might lose my job because of the arrest.
Answer: Before we answer this question, let’s just talk about the consequences you face if convicted. New Jersey has taken a harsh stance on drunk driving in the state. If you are convicted of a DUI, you face jail time, fines, a license suspension, and the possible installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You may also have to take education classes.
How many drinks does it take to be over the limit? It depends on a person’s weight and the number of drinks consumed. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds and had three drinks, your blood alcohol level would be under the limit. But, that doesn’t mean you aren’t feeling the effects of alcohol while behind the wheel. Check out what effects you would be feeling if this was the case.
So the possibility of you having a BAC of more than .08% on half a beer is pretty unlikely. The fact the police officer did not conduct a Breathalyzer or follow proper procedure is of concern. In order for a police officer to arrest a person for a DUI, he/she needs to gather evidence for probable cause. This includes conducting field sobriety tests, taking a Breathalyzer, and erratic driving. If the officer arrests you without probable cause, this can lead to a false arrest lawsuit.
However, this is something that you should speak with an experienced DUI lawyer about to see what your legal options are. If you were arrested for a DUI, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.