Some people believe that a DWI means just one thing; that if you are stopped by the police and they believe you are driving while intoxicated, that means you are drunk on alcohol and will be charged. It’s easy to see how this narrow interpretation could prove to be popular, since police themselves only carry a breathalyzer device to measure the level of alcohol in a person’s body. Therefore, if you are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine or any other drug, you will easily pass a breathalyzer test and thus evade a DWI charge. It only applies to alcohol right?
The Right Of Probable Cause
It’s true that today’s commercial breathalyzer devices cannot detect drugs. However, blood, urine and hair strands can all clearly indicate when someone has drugs in their system. If a police officer smells marijuana on someone’s breath, or conducts a breathalyzer test that passes, but clearly sees that someone is slurring words, and has impaired reflexes, this gives the police officer “probable cause” to order testing done at a secondary location.
This right is even more urgent in a case where an accident is involved, and insurance companies will be aggressive about assigning blame if substance abuse is involved. A drug test now takes very little time, and all of the modern testing procedures can detect the use of drugs in a system up to at least a week. In the case of hair samples, up to 90 days of drug use can measured in a sample, and it is accurate enough to note exactly how many times in a 90 day period drugs were taken.
All of which is to say that even if alcohol was not involved in an accident, but another substance was, you are far from “safe” from a charge. And that’s why it’s important to deal with this situation armed with the right knowledge and advice, which is what an experienced DWI lawyer can provide if you have the foresight to engage one.