To the typical Hoosier, there may be no obvious difference between a DUI arrest in the fall and one in winter. A driver gets pulled over, either consents to a breath test or refuses, and is then arrested. What could snow or freezing temperatures possibly change about this sequence?
While the sequence of a DUI arrest may not change with the weather, the reading that a breathalyzer test registers may.
Breathalyzer Tests Do Not Respond Well to Extreme Temperatures
There are several winter-specific considerations that may affect the accuracy of a breathalyzer test reading. For example, the test may issue a false positive or inaccurate result if:
- Weather conditions, including severe cold, affect the breathalyzer’s function
- The person arrested for DUI has been suffering a cold, which may lead them to ingest medicine that could leave residual alcohol in their mouth
- Changes in a person’s breath condensation, which occur in cold conditions, affect the breathalyzer reading
Breathalyzer tests are sensitive instruments that must be stored and administered in specific environmental conditions. The presence of cold weather may cast doubt on the legitimacy of a breathalyzer reading and the legitimacy of a DUI arrest.
DUI-Related Traffic Stops May Look Far Different in Cold Conditions
Several other hazards exist when a police officer makes a DUI-related traffic stop in winter conditions. The officer may:
- Pull a driver over without probable cause, as there may be fewer vehicles on the road and fewer obvious cases where someone should be pulled over
- Conduct a field sobriety test in icy, snowy, or other conditions that affect your performance on the test
- Rush through the sobriety testing process because they are uncomfortable in the cold conditions
When it comes to DUI testing and arrests, virtually everything changes with the weather. Even so, you are entitled to due process and may be able to avoid legal sanctions if you are the victim of an unlawful traffic stop or arrest.
Hire an Attorney If You Face a DUI Charge in Indiana
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) explains that you may go to jail for an entire year and face substantial fines for even a first-time DUI conviction. Get a capable legal defense today.
Call Razumich & Associates at 317-449-8661 or contact us online to discuss your DUI arrest and defense.