DWI Probable Cause

Some people might think that the smell of alcohol on a driver who is pulled over by the police is the smoking gun indicating that he or she was drunk. However, the odor of alcohol alone actually does not prove much of anything.

Why? Because the smell that we associate with alcohol does not actually come from the alcoholic content of the drink; rather, it comes from the flavoring that is added to the drink that gives the drink its taste. In fact, there is an inverse correlation between alcohol content and the strength of the “odor of alcohol.” That is, the higher the alcohol content of a drink, the weaker the scent that we generally associate with alcohol. For example, beer has a stronger odor of alcohol than, say, vodka, but of the two, vodka has a higher alcohol content.

Odor Doesn’t Equal Amount

Even more important to a DWI case is the fact that a police officer cannot tell from the scent of alcohol on the defendant’s person how much alcohol the defendant actually had to drink. There is no scientific way to connect how strongly a person smells of alcohol and how much alcohol that person had to drink. In fact, most police officers will testify that they can’t tell what type of alcohol was consumed, let alone the quantity of alcohol, from just smelling the odor of alcohol coming from the defendant.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider. An experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer can help you figure out the best strategy for your DWI case.

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