3 reasons legally sober people may be arrested for drunk driving

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2024 | Dui |

Police officers on traffic patrol are always on the lookout for signs of dangerous drivers. Anyone swerving all over the street or otherwise showing signs of potential impairment could end up stopped and potentially arrested.

Even those who know they are innocent sometimes plead guilty to drunk driving charges because they fear going to court. Sometimes, police officers rush to conclusions during traffic stops. They might arrest someone for drunk driving when that individual has never gotten behind the wheel while impaired in their life.

What might lead to someone who is not intoxicated getting arrested and prosecuted for a drunk driving offense?

Inaccurate breath test results

People generally assume that breath test equipment can accurately determine their degree of chemical intoxication. People trust this technology so much that they may even begin to question their own recollection about what happened before their arrest. Despite how accurate breath tests can be, they are also capable of returning the wrong results for a variety of reasons. The failure to properly maintain or calibrate a testing device might lead to an officer arresting someone who is actually sober.

Ignored medical explanations

If someone performs poorly on a field sobriety test or on a chemical breath test, police officers often proceed with arrest procedures. However, the driver could potentially have a reasonable explanation for their behavior or the unusual test results. Any medication they have taken, specialty diets and a host of other factors could explain medically why someone failed a breath test.

Confirmation bias

Especially during times of mass enforcement attempts, such as around the holidays and immediately after large events, police officers may see intoxication when there is none. They may associate every questionable driving choice with chemical impairment due to confirmation bias. Assuming the worst from people might lead to police officers arresting drivers over issues that have reasonable alternate explanations. Even an officer’s prior interactions with a specific individual could affect how they handle an encounter with that driver later. Assumptions about someone’s character or the reason for their conduct that might lead to a police officer making the wrong choice.

Someone who has been arrested for impaired driving, and who insists that they were not over the legal limit, may need help fighting back against pending drunk driving charges. Understanding how police officers make mistakes before arresting someone may benefit those hoping to fight the charges they face.

FindLaw Network