How Do Intoxication and Impairment Differ?

Intoxication and impairment are two phrases that are sometimes used interchangeably, yet they refer to two distinct states of being.

While both can hinder one’s capacity to function and make judgments, intoxication often refers to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whereas impairment can refer to any condition that impairs one’s ability to function, such as exhaustion, sickness, or medicine.

That is why you must understand how information about intoxication and impairment is used in court. This is understandably a difficult distinction to make without legal assistance; fortunately, Spartanburg’s top lawyers have you covered.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you must reach out to the Bateman Law Firm for legal consultation without delay. To discuss your case and explore your legal options, contact our top DUI attorneys in Spartanburg now.

For now, let’s go over some of the fundamental differences between intoxication and impairment, and explain why these distinctions are so important while navigating legal processes.

What Is Intoxication?

Recognizing the distinction between the terms intoxication and impairment is critical, as this could be a factor in your case. Intoxication affects both your body and mind as a result of exceeding your drinking limits.

Intoxication is the feeling you get after drinking too much alcohol. Its intensity varies according to your weight, genetics, how rapidly you drink, and how much alcohol is in each drink. Intoxication can range from a little buzz to severe inebriation, resulting in compromised mental and physical capacities.

You can be charged with a DUI for being over the legal limit even if you don’t feel drunk.

What Is Impairment?

Impairment is when a person’s capacity to operate normally or execute specific duties is compromised. Physical, mental, or emotional disorders that impair a person’s capacity to think, respond, or communicate effectively are examples of this.

Impairment can be induced by weariness, disease, medicine, or a mental health problem – apart from consuming too much alcohol. Impaired driving can refer to any condition that impairs a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, such as being tired, preoccupied, intoxicated, or under the influence of hard drugs.

The Science Behind Intoxication and Impairment

The science of intoxication and impairment is complicated, including several elements such as the type and amount of drug taken, as well as individual variances in metabolism and tolerance.

When a person consumes alcohol, for example, the molecules are absorbed, find their way into the circulatory system, and are then delivered to the brain, where they impair the central nervous system’s functioning (if present in sufficient concentration).

Various chemicals affect the brain in different ways, but they all impede a person’s ability to think clearly, respond swiftly, and make sensible judgments.

A person’s weight, gender, and overall health, as well as the rate and volume of intake, can all have an impact on the consequences of intoxication. Due to variations in body composition and metabolism, women may experience higher impairment than males after ingesting the same amount of alcohol.

Impairment can also be caused by exhaustion, disease, prescription medication, or mental health issues. For instance, a person who is feeling drowsy behind the wheel, is still a danger to others, even if not intoxicated.

Drowsy driving could be mistaken for DUI.

What to Expect When You’ve Been Charged With a DUI in Spartanburg, SC

What if you were stopped on suspicion of DUI but your behavior was actually reflecting drowsiness or absent-mindedness instead? Maybe the police officer then made a mistake with the calibration of the breathalyzer.

You may have exhibited signs (while driving) similar to a DUI, such as a violation of traffic laws, being unable to drive straight, and so on. But if the underlying cause was impairment due to sleep deprivation or weariness, then your attorney can base the defense on that.

Unjust DUI arrests are all too common, so if you’re charged, don’t think it’s the end of the world. Your lawyer can help you decide on the best ways to approach your case if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Spartanburg, SC.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test

If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer who suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be required to take a BAC test. If your BAC is greater than 0.08%, the results of this test may indicate intoxication.

A breathalyzer test can give false positive results. If the machine wasn’t calibrated correctly, the results can be challenged in a court of law.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are another measure of impairment (FSTs). A law enforcement officer administers these tests at the site of a traffic stop to assess balance and coordination. If the officer judges that you “failed” these tests, this information might be used to strengthen their case against you.

Again, a person may fail to perform optimally simply because they’re tired or drowsy, impaired, but not intoxicated.

Hire the Best DUI Lawyer in Spartanburg, South Carolina Now!

If you are facing a DUI charge, having an experienced criminal defense attorney in Spartanburg, South Carolina on your side will guarantee that your rights are properly safeguarded throughout the process. Contact the Bateman Law Firm today and let the best DUI lawyer in Spartanburg, South Carolina help you with your case.

Our experienced legal team understands the law and can recognize technicalities that might be useful in your defense. Furthermore, we are familiar with all available alternatives for court processes and hearings, allowing us to create an approach that should boost the chances of having the charges against you reduced or dropped.

The best DUI attorneys in Spartanburg at our law firm have access to a wide range of tools to prepare your defense. Expert witnesses, private investigators, toxicologists, and other professionals can offer valuable insights which will help us present your defense more confidently.

We will build a solid case and offer you the best chance of winning in court. Contact us today!