It's happened more than once. After being pulled over for a DWI, the suspect tosses the keys aside and then consumes as much alcohol as possible.
One of the most notable such cases came out of Florida in 2012. Police detained an allegedly drunk driver after he hit another car and killed an 81-year-old man. When the police were not looking, the suspect walked into a nearby Circle K, bought a 24-ounce can of Miller Lite, and started drinking.
He eventually pleaded guilty. But could the "chugging defense" work for you?
Why It's a Good Idea
Suddenly consuming a large quantity of alcohol could defeat the Breathalyzer test, or at least make the results much more questionable. The mouth alcohol arguably inflates the breath alcohol content measurement, which in turn throws off the Blood Alcohol Content estimate.
Sudden consumption may not affect blood test results, as the body has not yet absorbed the alcohol. But police officers need search warrants for blood tests, and they do not usually go to that trouble.
Why It's a Bad Idea
Especially in the current environment, it is a very bad idea to do anything that rouses an officer's suspicion. Officers could interpret sudden furtive movements, like getting out of the car or reaching for a bottle of booze, as aggressive actions. Legally, they could respond in kind, and some Weatherford police officers can be very aggressive indeed. A DWI is bad, but it is not bad enough to risk your personal safety.
If the DWI involved a car crash, leaving the scene, even for a moment, could result in FSRA (failure to stop and render aid) charges. If the accident involved a serious or fatal injury, FSRA is usually a felony.
Furthermore, to prove intoxication, prosecutors may establish the loss of physical or mental faculties. Prosecutors can argue that anyone who drinks alcohol after getting pulled over is clearly not thinking right. Alternatively, they could argue that a brazen attempt to beat the test is basically an admission of guilt.
Finally, prosecutors can use a fancy tactic called retrograde extrapolation to estimate the suspect's BAC level prior to the sudden consumption. So, the whole exercise may be for nothing. However, no matter how scientific the name sounds, retrograde extrapolation is really just an estimate based on another estimate.
The Final Word
The chugging defense is not as hare-brained as some others, but it is still a bad idea. A better idea is to politely yet firmly refuse to answer questions, perform field tests, or provide a chemical sample. Officers will most certainly arrest you for DWI, but that probably would have happened anyway.
It may look good on YouTube and have some legal basis, but the chugging defense is not the answer. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle cases in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.