- Drunk driving is a grave offense, with 37 daily deaths in the U.S., constituting 28% of all traffic-related fatalities.
- Non-alcoholic impairments like fatigue, medical conditions, and mouth alcohol can result in wrongful convictions for impaired driving.
- Breathalyzers can produce faulty results if not properly calibrated, and subjective field sobriety tests may lead to inaccurate assessments.
- If wrongfully convicted, securing a skilled lawyer, gathering supporting evidence, and requesting retests can help prove your innocence.
- Attending all court hearings is crucial when fighting wrongful impaired driving charges, and overall, responsible driving is emphasized.
Drunk driving is a severe offense that can lead to deadly accidents and injuries. Therefore, it is heavily penalized in most countries worldwide. However, being convicted of driving while impaired, even when you haven’t consumed alcohol, can also happen for various reasons. Here’s what you need to know about driving impaired, ways you can be wrongfully convicted, and what you can do to deal with it.
Driving Impaired Statistics
It’s estimated that about 37 people die from alcohol-impaired driving each day in the United States alone. In 2019, this number accounted for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the country. This shows that drunk driving is a significant problem and a leading cause of death on the roads.
However, other substances can also impair your ability to drive safely. Additionally, other problems might lead to wrongful convictions regarding this. Here are some of them:
Driving under fatigue can cause symptoms that can mimic alcohol impairment. Symptoms can include slowed reaction times, difficulty concentrating, and slurred speech. Therefore, a police officer might mistake a fatigued driver for an impaired one. To avoid this situation, it is essential to ensure you are well-rested before driving. If you feel too tired to drive, it’s best not to take the risk.
2. Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can cause symptoms that can be mistaken for alcohol impairment. For example, some diabetes medications can cause low blood sugar, leading to confusion, slurred speech, and clumsiness, which could make you appear impaired. If you have a medical condition that could result in these symptoms, have a healthcare provider document your condition and its symptoms to present as evidence if necessary.
3. Mouth Alcohol
Mouth alcohol is when there is residual alcohol in your mouth from sources such as mouthwash, breath fresheners, or medication. This residual alcohol can produce a false-positive reading on a breathalyzer test if taken immediately after use. Therefore, it’s best to wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before taking a Breathalyzer test after using anything containing alcohol.
4. Faulty Breathalyzers
Breathalyzers must be calibrated regularly to ensure accuracy. However, when not correctly calibrated, a breathalyzer can produce inaccurate results, leading to wrongful convictions. Therefore, requesting a blood or urine test for confirmation is best if you feel your breathalyzer results are incorrect.
5. Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are subjective, and several factors can influence the officer’s interpretation of the results. Factors such as the weather and the type of footwear can influence the results of these tests and lead to wrongful convictions. Therefore, it’s best to be cooperative and calm to avoid misunderstandings and wrongful convictions.
What to Do If You Get Wrongfully Convicted
There are various things you can do if you’re wrongfully convicted. Here are four things you need to do when that happens:
Find a Good Lawyer
You must find an excellent lawyer to represent you. An experienced OVI lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight for your case. They can represent you and build a solid defense to prove your innocence in court.
Collect as much evidence as possible that can prove your innocence. This can include CCTV footage, witness statements, or medical records. These pieces of evidence can support your case when presented in court.
Request a Retest
If you believe the results of a breathalyzer test are incorrect, you can request a retest. This time, it’s best to ask for a blood or urine test, which is more accurate and reliable.
Attend Court Hearings
Make sure to attend all court hearings related to your case. You must show up, especially if you’re fighting the charges against you. Failing to show up in court can result in an automatic conviction.
Driving impaired is a serious offense that can result in severe consequences. However, sometimes, wrongful convictions can happen due to various factors. If you find yourself wrongfully convicted of driving while impaired, it’s essential to understand your rights and take the necessary steps to prove your innocence. Stay informed, stay safe, and always remember to drive responsibly.