The holidays are right around the corner. For some of us that means happy hours, dinner with friends, work parties, and too much egg nog with Grandma. So of course, the million dollar question of the season is: If I get pulled over or arrested for drunk driving charges, do I blow or not?
When Should I Blow?
There is only one situation in which you should always take the breathalyer test: when you have not been drinking. If you have not had any alcohol prior to being stopped by a police officier, there is no reason to refuse the test. I have had clients tell me that even though they had not been drinking alcohol before being pulled over and asked to take the test, they still refused out of principle. Do not do this! Under Missouri law, if you are operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway you have already consented to giving a sample of your blood, breath, or urine if placed under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated. This is not the time to make a political statement. Take the test!
When Should I Refuse to Blow?
So now, let’s turn the table and discuss what you should do if you HAVE consumed alcohol prior to being stopped by the police. In short, do NOT take a breathalyzer test. There is absolutely no way for you to determine if your blood alcohol content is above .08 (or .02 for drivers under the age of 21). Do you realize how very low .08 is? Just a few beers, just a couple of drinks, or a quick shot before you leave your friends for the night will easily raise your blood alcohol content above the legal limit of .08 (now accepted by all 50 states). You cannot rely on your metabolism, your own “tolerance” for alcohol, what you had for dinner, the way you feel, or your ability to drive well as a basis for what your blood alcohol content really is. It is safe to assume that if you have been arrested for a drunk driving charge/ DWI and you have been drinking alcohol prior to driving you will most certainly have a blood alcohol content in excess of .08.
Stay tuned next week! I’ll be discussing why refusing to blow can help your case.