Attacking the claim of an “odor of alcohol” at the time of your arrest

In many DUI cases, the arresting officer will note an “odor of alcohol” at the time of the defendant’s arrest. As an experienced King County DUI lawyer, I can help the jury understand that the odor of alcohol really doesn’t mean very much.

First, the aroma associated with alcohol does not come from alcohol, but from the flavoring that gives the drink its taste. “Near beer,” for example, smells like beer, but has little or no alcohol. Plus, oddly enough, strong alcoholic drinks tend to produce less odor than weaker alcoholic drinks. Beer, for example, has a stronger scent than vodka. Most importantly, the odor of alcohol tells a police officer absolutely nothing about how much alcohol a person has consumed. There is no scientific evidence showing that the amount of alcohol consumed by a person can be determined by the odor of alcohol emanating from that person. Most police officers will concede this fact for the jury. When pressed, most officers will also concede that they cannot identify what the defendant was drinking simply by the odor of alcohol.

If you are facing trial on DUI charges and you would like to speak with an experienced King County DUI lawyer about this and other ways to challenge the arresting officer’s testimony, please contact me.

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