Its not uncommon on our DUI forum for users to ask if they can be arrested even if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit. Imagine how surprised Jessie Thornton, a 64-year-old man Surprise, Arizona, resident was when he was arrested with a BAC of 0.00%.
According to the Arizona Daily Mail, Jessie Thornton was pulled over at 11 p.m. last week by police after they saw him crossing the white line of his lane. Officers decided that because his eyes were blood shot he must have been driving under the influence or alcohol. The officers then asked him to submit to a field sobriety test which Thornton agreed to but due to bad knees and a bad hip Jessie Thornton was unable to perform well on the test.
Arrested after failing the Field Sobriety Test with BAC under legal limit
The officers later arrested Thornton, handcuffed him and placed him on the curb. Later he was taken into custody and asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. According to reports, there wasn't a trace of alcohol in his system. He registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.000.
Unfortunately, by the time Thornton was cleared by drug and alcohol experts his car had been impounded and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division had been told of his DUI arrest. With the notification to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division Thornton will have to take some steps to ensure his license is not suspended.
Thornton has decided that his arrest was racially motivated. He called is a case of driving while black. Thornton is suing the Sunrise Police Department for $50,000. Thornton argues its not about the money, but he is ready to make a point that harassing someone because of their skin color is not okay and he wants to eliminate any chance that someone else will experience the same thing in the future.
"It's not totally about the money, although I'm already out more than $5,000. That's $5,000 that I don't have," Thornton said.
Should I take the Breathalyzer test?
Many drivers ask if it is a good idea to take the breathalyzer test if they are stopped for drunk driving. All states have implemented administrative licensing suspension laws which allow the state to suspend a drivers license if they are arrested for DUI but they refuse to submit to a chemical test. With this law if you have not been drinking and you know your BAC is going to be less than the legal limit it is better to take the BAC test to insure you will not lose your license.
Consider also, many states will not allow you to talk to your lawyer before submitting to the test so it is important you understand your states drunk driving laws before you are arrested for DUI.
The only way to ensure you are never convicted of drunk driving is to not drink and drive.