Imagine being pulled over by the New York Police Department and being asked if you had anything to drink that evening. It can be an extremely frightening experience, regardless of whether you had anything to drink or not, and it is no surprise when people stumble over their words when talking with police. This may strengthen the police officer's assumptions that you were drinking and he may ask you to step out of the car to perform a field sobriety test. Fail that and you may be arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
This blog has previously mentioned how difficult field sobriety tests are, even for drivers that are completely sober, and the arrest of actor Jeffrey Wright in Manhattan this past April goes to show what poor performance on a field sobriety test can mean. Wright was pulled over and was arrested and charged with drunk driving after he failed a field sobriety test. The only problem was that when he arrived at the police station, his blood-alcohol content was recorded as 0.00 following a breath test.
Eventually, the charges were dropped, but this story shows that even the faintest smell of alcohol and poor coordination could result in an arrest and criminal charges. Even after New York police have taken you custody and asked for a blood or breath test, criminal charges can linger for months. It does not matter if you blow far below the legal limit for drunk driving, you may have to wait until you can appear before a judge with your criminal defense attorney before your name is cleared.
As for Wright, there was insufficient evidence to support his charges and the case was dropped.
Source: New York Daily News, "'Hunger Games' actor Jeffrey Wright's drunk driving charges dropped due to lack of evidence," Shayna Jacobs, June 25, 2013