“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” This is law enforcement’s message to people regarding DWI investigations and arrests. It’s short, it’s cute, and it rhymes, but too bad it’s not the law. Driving sober means not having had anything alcoholic to drink prior to driving. Everyone can agree that sober driving is legal. A person that has ten beers and drives is clearly drunk driving. Everyone can agree that is illegal. The point of contention between lawyers and law enforcement comes in the area between sober driving and drunk driving. Law enforcement would like to pretend there is no area between sober driving and drunk driving, but it is perfectly legal for sometime to drive between a 0.00 blood alcohol content and a 0.79 blood alcohol content as long as the driver is not intoxicated.
Drinking and Driving is Legal If There is No Intoxication
It is legal to drink and drive as long as the driver is not intoxicated. This is an extremely important concept that law enforcement likes to disregard. Adults are allowed to go out after work and have a beer with coworkers, then get it their car and drive home. If the standard truly is drive sober or get pulled over then there would be no happy hours, and wine sales at restaurants would plummet. Although the legal limit has dropped several times prior to getting to the present 0.08 blood alcohol content, the law is not yet zero tolerance.
Consequences of Legally Inaccurate Commercials
One problem with campaigns such as this recent “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is that it misleads people about the actual law. When a drunk driving case goes to trial in front of a jury, it is always important to ask the potential jurors if it is illegal to have anything to drink and drive. Every jury panel I have asked that question to has had several people who have been mislead and believe the law states that it is illegal to drink and drive, no matter what. Law enforcement cannot simply change the law to what they would like it to be with cute rhyming slogans. DWI attorneys will continue to stand up in court to defend people against this ficticious standard.
Please continue to check back for additional blog posts regarding this subject and similar subjects. If you would like to read additional information about the drunk driving laws in Missouri, please visit our DWI page.