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Acevedo, Whitmore, and Lewis are right, although probably not in the way they intended. People do react to alcohol differently. For many people one drink may well be too many, while experienced drinkers can function relatively normally with a BAC at or above the legal threshold for presuming intoxication. A person's impairment may also depend on variables such as the medications he is taking and the amount of sleep he got the night before.

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Acevedo et al. The right solution, however, is not to push the artificial line back farther. Instead we should get rid of it entirely by repealing drunk driving laws. Consider the federal law that pressured states to lower their BAC standards to 0.

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At the time, the average BAC in alcohol-related fatal accidents was 0. In fact, drivers with BACs between 0. The federal government classifies a fatal accident as "alcohol-related" if it involved a driver, a biker, or a pedestrian with a BAC of 0. In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied traffic data in 30 safety categories from the first five states to adopt the new DWI standard. In 21 of the 30 categories, those states were either no different from or less safe than the rest of the country.

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Once the 0. Critics of the 0. The problem is that most people with a BAC between 0. So police began setting up roadblocks to catch them. But every cop manning a roadblock aimed at catching motorists violating the new law is a cop not on the highways looking for more seriously impaired motorists.

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By alcohol-related fatalities went down again, but only because the decrease in states that don't use roadblocks compensated for a slight but continuing increase in the states that use them. The roadblocks are also constitutionally problematic. In the decision Michigan v.


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Sitz ,the Supreme Court acknowledged that stops at sobriety checkpoints constitute "seizures" under the Fourth Amendment but ruled that the public safety threat posed by drunk driving made them "reasonable. When local newspapers inquire about specific roadblocks after the fact, they inevitably find lots of citations for seat belt offenses, broken headlights, driving with an expired license, and other minor infractions. But the checkpoints rarely catch seriously impaired drivers.

A typical checkpoint would consist of 20 or more cops, yield a dozen or more vehicle confiscations, but around three drunk driving arrests. Checkpoints are only the beginning of what California DWI attorney Lawrence Taylor calls "the drunk driving exception to the Constitution. Those breath tests are also fraught with problems. Most manufacturers of breath test machines have refused to turn over their source code, meaning DWI defendants can't assess the machines' margin of error , which can be a significant factor in a case where the difference between 0.

Blood tests are far more accurate, but by the time a driver is pulled over, questioned, taken to the nearest hospital, and had his blood drawn, his BAC may be significantly different from what it was when he was driving.

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Perversely, the time lapse can have the effect of protecting guiltier motorists. Imagine a driver pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint after having "one for the road," knowing his house is a short drive away and the last drink won't kick in until he's sitting on his couch. At the time he is stopped, he is under the legal limit. But his BAC is rising, and it tops 0. By contrast, a driver who is impaired when he's pulled over, but who stopped drinking an hour or so before, benefits from the delay, since his BAC is falling by the time he arrives at the hospital.

Many states have tried to solve this problem by claiming another invasive power: They are now allowing police to forcibly take a blood sample on the side of the road. These ever-expanding enforcement powers miss the point: The threat posed by drunk driving comes not from drinking per se but from the impairment drinking can cause.

That fact has been lost in the rush to demonize people who have even a single drink before getting behind the wheel exemplified by the shift in the government's message from "Don't Drive Drunk" to "Don't Drink and Drive". Several studies have found that talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, causes more driver impairment than a 0.

A American Automobile Association study found several other in-car distractions that also caused more impairment, including eating, adjusting a radio or CD player, and having kids in the backseat for more on such studies, see the paper I wrote on alcohol policy for the Cato Institute. B the use of a wireless communication device under Section C a violation of the open container law, Section Different rules apply if the person stopped is a nonresident or operating a vehicle licensed in a different state.

If you sign a citation but then later willfully fail to appear in court, you are committing a misdemeanor, regardless of whether or not you are found guilty of the original traffic stop charge 6. A warrant will then be issued for your arrest, and you may be arrested by a peace officer at any time. This law states that it is a crime to have an open alcoholic beverage container in your car while driving.

There are certain exceptions to the open container law for commercial vehicles that are meant to transport you while you are consuming alcohol.


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Learn more about the open container law. If you are arrested, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The traffic violation and arrest can always be challenged after the fact, so it is best to stay calm and sign the citation. Yes, you can be arrested for speeding, but only if you fail to sign the citation as the police officer requests. Learn why this is. City of Lago Vista , U.

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In Atwater , a Texas driver was pulled over for failing to wear a seat-belt. The woman sued the arresting officer, police chief, and city where she lived claiming a violation of her constitutional rights.

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The U. Supreme Court in Atwater held that officers can arrest people for traffic violations and further, that officers do not need a warrant to do so. Supreme Court reasoned that because a police officer has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, in this case a traffic violation, in their presence, an arrest following the traffic violation is constitutional. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.

Clear Your Criminal Record Arrested? When can the police arrest you for a traffic violation? What happens if I sign a citation but fail to appear for court?

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