Being pulled over is always a nerve-wracking experience, even if you’ve done nothing wrong
You expect to be given a warning or perhaps a speeding ticket and sent on your way, but much to your surprise, the officer asks you to take a breathalyzer and arrests you for DWI. Can you be charged even though you weren’t drinking?
You Can Be Charged If the Officer Believes You Were Impaired
The arresting officer’s observations are a key piece of evidence in a Maryland DWI case, even though they are largely subjective and unreliable. If the officer believes that you were too impaired to drive — regardless of the substance in question — they can request a breathalyzer or roadside sobriety tests, and make an arrest.
Generally, the officer will write a report of their findings shortly after your arrest. This includes documenting the observations that led them to believe you were intoxicated, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, confusion, and inability to follow directions.
Other Evidence Against You
Law enforcement officers are trained to ask you to step out of your vehicle and submit to a roadside sobriety test if they believe you are under the influence. You do not have to agree to these tests, but if you do, they can be used against you to “prove” that you were intoxicated. However, field sobriety tests like the one-leg stand and walk-and-turn are notoriously unreliable and are frequently failed by individuals who are completely sober.
Does a Negative Breathalyzer Matter?
If you were asked to submit a breathalyzer test and blew under a 0.08%, this can be strong evidence in your favor. If your test was close to 0.08% but not exactly, the prosecution may argue that the officer’s observations and your performance on field sobriety tests indicated that you were absolutely impaired.
If you blew 0.00%, the prosecution may then argue that you were under the influence of drugs versus alcohol. A negative breathalyzer can help your case, but it may not be enough to get your case dismissed in and of itself.
How a Maryland DWI Lawyer Can Help You
If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated even though you weren’t drinking, it’s critical that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your innocence and aggressively pursue the dismissal of your charges. Contact Richard Brueckner today for a consultation by calling 410-430-1464.