Nearly every driver knows there are certain things that can cause the police to pull you over and write a ticket. Driving faster than the speed limit allows, running a red light or disregarding a stop sign, or driving the wrong way on a one way street are a few examples of driving patterns that can result in tickets. Taking the wheel after having too much to drink is also one way to find yourself stopped on the side of the road, facing the possibility of receiving a more serious traffic ticket. In order for the police to make an arrest for DUI certain requirements must be met. The most commonly used proof that a driver was over the legal limit is a breath test result. The test is given during the traffic stop and if the results show an amount of alcohol in the driver’s system that is above what is legally allowed, the officer can make an arrest for DUI. Some drivers think there are ways to “beat” the breath test and that certain behaviors can help to avoid a positive test result. Being able to separate fact from fiction will allow you to take appropriate action if you have been drinking, and find a safe way home.
Ten common misperceptions about how a DUI case works are:
- You can only be charged with DUI if you are driving: this is not true and it is important to note you can be charged while just sitting behind the wheel of a parked car.
- If you are careful when driving after drinking you won’t be charged: most people think they actually drive better when intoxicated due to the possibility of being pulled over. But the truth is your ability to reason and react is impacted, making your driving patterns suspicious.
- If you eat in between drinks the alcohol will be absorbed into your system faster: this is not a fail safe way to avoid DUI because it is impossible to know the chemical makeup of your body well enough to gauge when your BAC is not over the limit.
- If you limit the number of drinks you have per hour you can avoid being “drunk”: again, the rate at which alcohol enters and leaves your system is near impossible to pinpoint, making counting drinks nothing more than a guessing game.
- If you cooperate with the police you will be given a warning: cooperating with the police is always a good idea, but the more information you share the more likely you are to give the officer just the ammunition he or she needs to make an arrest.
- If you refuse to give a breath test you cannot be charged: it is true that you can refuse to participate in a breath test, thus depriving the officer of the necessary information to make a DUI arrest, but doing so is not without complexities. In many cases you will be required to submit to a blood test instead, and this type of evidence is much harder to dispute. The fact you refused the breath test might also be used as evidence against you.
- If you are taking prescriptions you can avoid a DUI: there are some medications that have the same chemical properties as alcohol and in some cases this is a valid defense. But it should be mentioned that not every prescription medication falls in this category and you should not rely on the fact you are taking a prescription while drinking.
- If you pass a field sobriety test you will be sent on your way: just because you can walk a straight line does not mean you will not be asked to take a breath test. Don’t rely on your ability to follow a pen with your eyes or the fact you “passed” a field sobriety test to get you out of a DUI.
- If you tell the truth you will not be questioned further: telling the truth is always a good idea, but the more information you give about your activities the more information the police will have that can lead to further questions or tests.
- If you lie about how many drinks you have had you will not be charged: just like saying too much is not a good idea, saying the wrong things are also ill advised. Lying to the police can be a separate criminal charge and will just make matters worse for you.
In order to figure out what type of defense will work best for you, call one of our DUI defense attorneys for more information. We will review your case and come up with solutions that fit the facts.
If you have questions about DUI’s, call our office for answers. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.