You felt confident about your driving when a police officer pulled you over. Although you had a few beers or a mixed drink before getting behind the wheel, you felt certain that your beverages did not affect your driving skill.
The police officer who pulled you over may not have made any statements about impairment but may have started to suspect chemical intoxication because of how you smelled or what you said while talking to them. They asked you to perform a chemical breath test, and the results showed that you were over the legal limit.
The police officer then arrested you even though there were no noticeable issues with your driving. Can you defend against a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge by claiming there was no impairment regardless of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?
An elevated BAC is a crime in itself
If the only way to prosecute impaired driving was based on visual signs of intoxication, drivers could potentially avoid prosecution despite making very unsafe decisions. A specific chemical limit helps ensure that the state can arrest and prosecute those who drink too much before driving despite their skill level.
Although it may seem arbitrary, the state has established a per se limit for your BAC. When you test at or over the limit, you can face a technical DWI infraction even when you’re driving is perfectly normal. The per se law makes it an offense to have a BAC over the limit regardless of other factors. It is also illegal to drive when you know intoxicants have affected your ability, regardless of your BAC.
There could be other defenses available
While you can’t use the fact that you have a high alcohol tolerance to avoid a DWI charge or to defend yourself in court, there could be other defense options available to you. From challenging the traffic stop to raising questions about the accuracy of the breath test results, there are multiple ways that someone can successfully defend against a pending DWI charge in New York.
Understanding what actually constitutes a DWI offense under New York laws can help you arrive at the most reasonable strategy for your own defense.