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Can you get a DUI for driving while hungover?

After a night out with friends, you may have taken all the right steps. You may have gotten a ride home from a designated driver or called a taxi to ensure that you traveled home safely. However, if you struggle with the symptoms of a hangover the next morning, you may see the lights of a police car in your rearview mirror. Can the authorities really charge you with drunk driving because of a hangover?

Studies indicate that hangover symptoms can last for 24 hours or longer.

The symptoms of a hangover can all have an impact on a person’s ability to focus. Fatigue, headaches, increased sensitivity and other symptoms can leave a driver disoriented for as much as a day after they drink, long after the alcohol is no longer detectable in their system. A hangover can also impact a driver’s concentration. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for symptoms of drunkenness.

California DUI law could impact hungover drivers.

While California Vehicle Code Section 23152 forbids you from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08, the law also allows police officers to charge someone with a DUI at any BAC if they are “under the influence”. This means that the authorities could easily view you as impaired even if alcohol left your system hours ago.

Unfortunately, this legal flexibility allows officers to rely on their perception of a driver. If they mistake the symptoms of a hangover for drunkenness, you may need to speak to an experienced attorney. A skilled lawyer can counter the officer’s perception of your hangover, offer legal guidance and protect you from the impact of these charges.

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