Imagine going out and deciding only to have one drink, knowing it wouldn’t put you over the legal limit. Then, after getting pulled over for a traffic infraction or getting in an accident, you take a breath test and find out that you’re actually drunk. You don’t know how, but you’re over the legal limit, and so you’re facing charges.
This is something that, while it doesn’t happen often, has been reported in the past. It can happen when someone else spikes your drink without your knowledge, and so you end up drinking much more than you thought. If you don’t “feel” the alcohol yet, you could be completely oblivious.
When used as a defense, this is called involuntary intoxication.
It can be hard to prove that you didn’t know you were drinking. One way to do it is by obtaining witness statements or video evidence of the incident. For example, if your drink was spiked at the bar, the bar may have CCTV cameras that captured the moment the alcohol was put in your glass. Even if you can’t tell who did it, it will at least show that your side of the story holds up.
People often question this by stating that alcohol has such a notable taste that you should have known it was there. While this could be true if a non-alcoholic drink was spiked, the taste could be masked if you were drinking alcohol and you just ended up with more than you planned.
If this has happened to you, you should know what legal rights and options you have.
Source: FIndLaw, “Defenses to Drunk Driving,” accessed June 18, 2015