Not exactly words of wisdom from driver on blood-alcohol level: ‘It was .09, but I was fine’


The other night I backed up an officer on a car stop after a guy had made a right turn on a red light without stopping. When I arrived the officer said: “He’s suspended for DUI. I’m going to get him out.”

The officer contacted the driver and asked him to step out of the car. He patted him down for weapons and told him to sit down on the curb. The officer then did an inventory search of the vehicle because it was going to get impounded.

I looked at the driver and asked, “Did you crash or did you get stopped when you got arrested?”

“I got stopped.”

“What was your BAC?”

“It was .09, but I was fine.”

“Well, you obviously weren’t fine since you were arrested,” I said. “Being DUI doesn’t mean you’re falling-down drunk. It means you were impaired and above the limit.”

“What’s going to happen to my car?”

“It’s getting impounded.”

“For how long?”

“For 30 days.”

“Can someone pick up the car?” he asked.

“No,” I told him.


“Your license is suspended and you ran a red light. You knew you weren’t supposed to drive, right?”


I was a little surprised he said he was fine after being a .09 percent BAC and getting arrested.

He just didn’t get it yet. Maybe one day he will.

I’m sure he knows everything at 21 years old.

Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415. His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for more than 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. shares some of his columns.