History of Drunk Driving
As long as there have been motorized vehicles, there have been intoxicated drivers. Initially, without the high-tech equipment we have today it was difficult to prove someone was drunk. The determination was made solely by the arresting officer. It would be necessary that they take several things into careful consideration including how erratic the driving was and the driver’s behavior. Field Sobriety Tests (FST) also aided law enforcement. Imposing specific tests on suspects helped improve reliability and provide some stability to officer’s decisions. They were unfortunately still subject to quite a bit of fair scrutiny.
In the coming decades various technologies were introduced in order to obtain a more scientific measurement of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) while remaining non-invasive. In 1954 an Indiana State Police Captain, Dr. Robert Borkenstein invented the first device which measured BAC from breath. Relying on chemical oxidation and photometry the instrument would provide a fairly accurate BAC reading. This became a useful tool for police and was successfully marketed as Breathalyzer. Today the devices use infrared spectroscopy and are manufactured by several other companies under many different na mes, but most still refer to them as a “Breathalyzer”. They are also available today for consumers. While not as accurate, they can be an excellent tool in preventing someone responsible from driving who has an illegal BAC.
Another major change to DUI laws was the implementation of BAC restrictions on drivers. In many states the legal limit was .20 or .15. Over time the limits slowly slipped down and are now at .08. Drivers under 21 and commercial drivers may be charged with even lower levels. Most other countries have DUI laws as well. In some, drinking is completely illegal, while others have no DUI laws.
Charged with DUI? You’re facing a serious criminal charge that can have far-reaching effects on your family, job, finance, and freedom. Don’t panic. DUI lawyers handle cases like yours every day. Contact a lawyer today and have your case evaluated. Not only can they minimize the impact of a conviction, they may be able to have the entire case against you dropped!