You weren't expecting to get pulled over when you were out for the night. The policeman who stopped you claimed that you had been driving erratically, but you didn't think that was the truth. Despite that, you listened as they said what they needed to and even gave them a breath sample willingly.
What you were surprised to find out is that your blood alcohol concentration was at .06%, even though you'd stopped drinking a few hours ago. Still, the legal limit is .08%, so you're safe against penalties, right?
That's not exactly true. Even if your BAC isn't over .08%, you can face a DWI. How? The trooper or officer will need to gather evidence to show that you were driving while impaired and that you were too impaired to drive safely.
What kinds of evidence will support the officer's arrest?
An officer may ask you to take field sobriety tests to help prove the DWI case. The tests that they may ask you to take include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
- Walk and turn
- One-leg stand
Each of these tests on their own are not perfect, and they're not guaranteed to show if you are or are not inebriated. However, combining all three tests (if you fail) makes it much easier for an officer to prove that you were intoxicated too much to drive, even if your BAC wasn't over the .08% limit.
What should you do if you're arrested after a DWI stop but aren't over the limit?
It's in your best interests to cooperate and participate in the tests that the officer asks for. Your attorney can be called once you reach the police station. Remember that you don't need to say or do anything that might incriminate you. Instead, stay quiet and just give simple answers to required questions. For example, you can give your name and address, license and identifying information, but you don't have to tell an officer where you were going, where you're coming from or any other unnecessary information without your attorney present.
When your attorney is with you, they will give you more information about what you should or should not say to the police. They will also work with you to defend yourself and show why the arrest and subsequent charges should be dismissed or lowered. With the right help, it's possible that you could have the case completely dropped or the penalties lowered significantly.