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Alcohol can give drivers a false sense of confidence

You have probably been to a social function where certain guests feel confident about their ability to drive despite having had a few drinks. One of the reasons for this is that everyone reacts to alcohol differently depending on their physiological makeup. While one person may not appear to be affected by having a glass of wine, someone else may feel dizzy or giddy and become sleepy or overly talkative. It only takes a few drinks to exceed the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC), but many experts feel there is cause for the legal threshold to be lowered.

Processing information becomes problematic

When you drink alcohol, both your motor skills and your cognitive skills can be impaired. As you begin to sober up and your BAC level starts to decrease, your motor skills will improve, which might give you a false sense of confidence. The problem is that cognitive function lags behind, meaning that your ability to process information does not return to normal as quickly as the reaction time for your reflexes. For example, while you might be able to respond physically to the sudden stop made by the car in front of you, you might not make the right decision-you may step on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

The possibility of being pulled over

Even if you have only had a small amount of alcohol-a couple of beers, a glass of wine-you could be stopped and arrested. You may be given a breath test, and even if your BAC is found to be below the legal limit, a police officer could claim that you are impaired. Since this could obviously be an extremely uncomfortable situation, you have a decision to make as to whether it would be worthwhile to continue to drink, even conservatively, if you intend to drive.

You have options

Many traffic stops occur because of a vehicle safety defect, such as a broken tail light, or because a driver is speeding, rolling through a stop sign or making an odd driving maneuver, such as weaving from lane to lane. If your vehicle is in good condition and you are moving with traffic, you will appear to be just an ordinary motorist and the police will have little reason to stop you.

Dealing with a stressful experience

Should you see flashing lights behind you, however, find a safe place to pull over and put your hands on the steering wheel where the police officer can see them. Be sure you can show your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Be courteous, but do not admit to anything, especially if you have been drinking. In the event the officer tests your blood alcohol level and decides to arrest you based on the results, however slight, you are going to need legal assistance. Remember that an attorney experienced in handling OVI cases is standing by to help.

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