What Happens If You're Arrested For DWI While Sober?

24 April 2019
 Categories: , Blog


Researchers have performed dozens of studies about the negative impact that texting, being overly tired, or other common distractions or physical conditions can have on a person's driving skills. But while many states have implemented anti-texting-and-driving laws, laws governing driving while tired (or driving while eating) would be all but impossible to enforce. What happens if you're pulled over —or even arrested — on an officer's suspicion of DWI while you're stone-cold sober? Read on to learn more about your legal options in this situation.

Can You Be Arrested For DWI While Sober?

In order to arrest a driver for DWI, an officer will need to establish two key factors. 

1. The driver is committing a traffic violation or driving erratically. Going too far under the speed limit, accelerating and braking at random, or weaving to the side of the road can all constitute probable cause for a traffic stop.

2. The driver refuses to take (or fails) a field sobriety test. Although officers will look for clues like the smell of alcohol on a driver's breath, bloodshot or glassy eyes, empty bottles in the vehicle, or slurred speech, none of these factors have to be present in order for the officer to make an arrest — especially if the driver refuses to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. In many states, a breathalyzer refusal alone creates a presumption of guilt that allows the driver to be arrested. 

After the officer has decided to make an arrest, he or she will transport the driver to the hospital for a blood draw (if the breathalyzer was refused) or to the jail for booking and processing. 

Do You Need an Attorney? 

If you've been charged with DWI with no alcohol or illicit drugs in your system, your defense may seem fairly straightforward — after all, your post-arrest blood test should reveal the total lack of alcohol in your bloodstream. However, it's still a good idea to hire an attorney to assist with your defense. 

It's possible that the prosecutor could argue that you were intoxicated at the time of your arrest, but the passage of time between the traffic stop and your blood draw was enough to fully metabolize the alcohol remaining in your system. A DWI attorney can rebut this argument and ensure that the evidence of your sobriety is made available to the judge or jury. Because a DWI conviction carries some hefty penalties, establishing a strong defense early is key.