Updated on April 27th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

The arresting officer in your Milwaukee drunk driving case will probably claim that he or she smelled an odor of alcohol at the time of your arrest, usually by checking a box on your arrest form. It’s not really possible to say what the officer did or did not smell, so an experienced Milwaukee drunk driving lawyer won’t directly attack the officer’s claim that he or she smelled alcohol, but rather the inferences he or she made from it.

The “odor of alcohol” that the officer reported smelling (and which you’ve surely smelled before) doesn’t actually come from alcohol at all, but rather the flavoring used in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol itself has no odor, and the beverages with the highest alcohol content actually tend to smell the least. Vodka has a higher alcohol content than beer, but its scent is less pervasive. Non-alcoholic beer smells virtually the same as ordinary beer, despite having little or no alcohol content.

Sometimes, officers will anticipate this argument by saying that they smelled the odor of an “alcoholic beverage” rather than the odor of “alcohol.” Your Milwaukee drunk driving lawyer will still be able to argue that the officer could not have possibly determined how much alcohol you consumed based on breath odor alone. In most cases, when questioned, the officer will admit that he or she doesn’t even know what type of beverage the defendant consumed.

Your case probably won’t be won or lost on the basis of your arresting officer’s statement about your breath, but by showing that one part of the prosecution’s case is unreliable, it may help to introduce reasonable doubt about the other parts of the case.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Milwaukee and you are not already represented by a Milwaukee drunk driving lawyer, please contact Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. at 1-877-384-6800 for a Free Case Evaluation.

Nathan J. Dineen