Impaired driving is a state in which the driver is determined to be engaged in actions that indicate he or she is not able to a motor vehicle safely and responsibly. While many people associate this state with the use of some sort of alcohol or drug, there is actually more to it than that. Here are four of the most important things you should know about impaired driving and what can happen if you are arrested for this charge.
The Focus is Often on What You are Doing
It’s true that if you are pulled over and the officer requests a breath or some other test on the spot, it can lead to being taken into custody and required to take more comprehensive tests at the station. What often escapes notice is that the blood alcohol concentration of the driver is not the focus early on. Instead, the officer is taking into account the actions of the driver. If the car was weaving in and out of traffic or running up on the curb, that indicates impaired driving that may or may not be due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. The same is true if the driver is having difficulty speaking clearly or is unable to walk without stumbling or staggering. While your BAC may ultimately be somewhat low, the fact that something made you less than competent behind the wheel will be sufficient to make the charge of impaired driving.
Prescription Medications are Not Exempt
Many people assume that arrests for impaired driving must involve the use of alcohol or some type of illegal drug. That is not the case. No lawyer will make a based on the fact that the client’s ability to drive was affected by taking the recommended dosage of a prescription medication. From a legal perspective, the driver is responsible for knowing the possible side effects of the medication and making choices that minimize the potential of causing injury to self or to others. That would mean if the medication makes the driver sleepy, the choice would be to take a cab or allow someone else to do the driving.
Impaired Driving and Over 80 are Related But Not the Same Thing
You may have heard of Over 80 laws. These are based on the blood alcohol concentration found in the driver’s bloodstream. If there is at least 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, then these laws will apply.
Since the testing used is administered at the station rather than at the time the driver is pulled over, a BAC over 80 clearly demonstrates the individual was in no condition to be behind the wheel. The charges are somewhat more comprehensive than for incidents determined to be and the consequences are more serious.
You Need Legal Advice
No matter what the circumstances happen to be, you do need to be represented by legal counsel. Your rights allow for the counsel to be present during questioning, and you must be provided with private time with your lawyer. Upon arriving at the station, you must make a formal request to contact the lawyer of your choice or to otherwise make arrangements for legal representation if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
Never take a charge of impaired driving or Over 80 lightly. The outcome will have an impact on your life for a long time. Take steps to avoid putting yourself in this situation and seek legal help if you end up in trouble because of a momentary lapse in judgment. Your lawyer will use every legal recourse to ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.