It is common to report on sensational stories about drunk driving. It makes for interesting media fodder, and we are certainly not immune to these reports. Readers who have followed our blog have learned about drivers who have fallen asleep at stop signs, crashed into ponds, and posted their exploits on Facebook.
We were even tempted to report on a drunk driver who "moonwalked" through a heel-to-toe sobriety test.
While these fall into the "what were you thinking" category of drunk driving offenses, a large majority of DUI charges do not. A driver can be convicted of DUI in Arizona if his or her blood alcohol level is .08 or greater, and that level of impairment commonly does not equate to a driver being impaired that he or she cannot possibly drive a car. Essentially, normal, everyday people can be charged with drunk driving.
Indeed, there is a certain level of judgment and focus that drivers lose when they have alcohol in their systems, but some may argue that the focus lost when using a cell phone is more dangerous than being behind the wheel with a .08 BAC level. (Studies have shown that talking on a cell phone is just as dangerous as drunk driving).
Also, when a person is accused of having a .08 BAC (or even a .09 for that matter) the accuracy of the breathalyzer test can also be challenged. Essentially, a variance of .01 could mean the difference between thousands of dollars in fines and penalties on the one hand, and a clean record on the other.
Suffice it to say, not all DUI cases involve bloodshot eyes, balance problems or slurred speech.
Source: AZCentral.com, DUI fears are overblown, February 5, 2013