Even if you don’t drink enough alcohol to score at least .08 when performing a breath test, you cans still be prosecuted for DWI because it is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle if the alcohol has impaired their abilities.
Many individuals will go to a party, have a few drinks, and believe they are okay to drive home because they are not intoxicated. In fact, this is a common misconception. A person may cut themselves off at two drinks, but they may find that their abilities are still slightly impaired. If a field sobriety, blood, urine, or breath test reveals alcohol in the system and there is some impairment, then charges can result.
This has caused a great deal of confusion, as some have always believed that charges could not be brought against them as long as their blood alcohol content was below .08.
So how do you know how much alcohol is too much?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell since how much alcohol affects you depends on your bodyweight and a number of other factors. In the end, Minnesota DWI law concludes that people cannot safely operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or more. An illegal danger is posed in public.
Being that there is a rate in which alcohol dissipates in the blood, it is illegal to test at .08 or more within two hours of driving the vehicle.
But as stated before, it doesn’t matter if you score a .08 or not if your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired. Of course, this assessment is up to the officer who pulls you over. What one officer may deem failure to operate, another one may not see it that way.
However, juries are given instructions in some DWI trials that states a person has had too much to drink if they do not have the clearness of intellect and control of themselves that they would have if they didn’t drink any alcohol.
The standard is a rather tough one. It is also part of the reason why police officers will ask a suspected drunk driver to submit to a field sobriety test. These tests consist of standing on one food, reciting the ABCs, walking in a straight line, or touching your finger to your nose. The tests are designed to measure how much control a person has over him or herself.
Because of these methods that are used to define whether or not a person is driving illegally, there are three separate criminal charges that can result. They are DUI/DWI, driving with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, or testing at a .08 or more within two hours of being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Each charge is a separate criminal charge and being found guilty of any of them can result in a DWI. This shows how seriously the law takes drinking and driving and is also a reflection of the public sentiment surrounding drunken driving.