It’s illegal to drive drunk. People who are caught driving drunk can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) charges.
Many drivers do things that increase their chances of getting a DWI charge. Here’s how that happens:
1. Drinking coffee to reduce alcohol
It’s often believed that drinking coffee will negate the effects of alcohol in the body. This may be because coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, which would theoretically cancel each other out. However, there’s no evidence that this works. Instead, drivers may feel the erratic effect of coffee simultaneous to the sedative effect of alcohol.
2. Refusing to take a chemical breath test
The police have the right to ask drivers to take chemical sobriety tests. One of the most common chemical tests is a breath test, which is a small machine that tests people’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Drivers may be under the impression that they can refuse chemical breath tests and avoid a drunk driving charge, but that’s not how things work. Refusing a chemical test could still result in a DWI charge — plus additional penalties for refusing the test.
3. Using a penny or mints to confuse a breath test
If a driver does decide to take a breath test, they may try to use a penny to reduce the BAC reading. However, this is a common myth that doesn’t work. Alternatively, drivers may try to use breath mints, fresheners or perfume to hide the smell of alcohol. Many of these products contain trace amounts of alcohol that increase BAC readings.
4. Answering police questions
During a traffic stop, the police may ask the driver several questions to help give them evidence of the driver’s condition. They may ask, for example, if the driver was at a bar or if they were drinking. Some drivers may be tempted to answer the police’s questions. However, under the Fifth Amendment, drivers have the right to refuse to answer questions that might lead to self-incrimination.
If you’re facing a DWI charge, then you may need to learn about your options for a legal defense.