James M. Wagman, Attorney at Law
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Can driving while hungover lead to a DWI charge?

While you may enjoy going out with friends or to a party and having a few drinks, you understand the importance of not driving after drinking. As a result, when you've had a night out, you may choose to stay over with a friend rather than hopping in your car and going home. Of course, even the next morning, you may feel the effects of your fun time.

Being hungover is not usually anyone's idea of an enjoyable experience. Still, you may think that, since you gave yourself time to sleep off the drinking, you are well and able to drive. Unfortunately, a police officer may think differently.

Effects of a hangover

It is possible for a hangover to affect your driving and be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Some of the effects you could experience the morning after a night of drinking include the following:

  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Decreased concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and stomach pain

Any of these lingering issues could affect the way you drive. If you feel nauseous, your concentration (which may already be diminishing) may be on trying not to get sick rather than on driving. Dizziness and fatigue could also impair your driving abilities. If an officer notices any swerving or unusual driving, you could end up pulled over.

Are you at risk of a DUI?

Though you did not have anything to drink the morning you drove, it does not necessarily mean that an officer will consider you sober. If you have bloodshot eyes, seem disheveled or disoriented, or have an odor of alcohol about you, this may raise the officer's suspicions. If you participate in field sobriety tests, your diminished abilities from your hangover could put you at risk of not passing those tests. As a result, an officer may consider that probable cause to take you into custody.

If this happens, you may feel as if the arrest is completely unfair. After all, you did not drink immediately before getting behind the wheel. Nonetheless, if an officer believes that charges are warranted, you may find yourself needing to work on your criminal defense. Contacting an experienced New York attorney may be in your best interests for fighting against DWI allegations and working to preserve your innocence.

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