Unfortunately, many drivers believe they are okay to drive. Here are some dangerous misconceptions about DUIs.
You Won’t Receive a DUI if You Only Have One Drink Every Hour
This is a common rule-of-thumb that many people follow. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot of room for error.
Here are some reasons it is wrong:
- Everybody metabolizes alcohol differently. Gender and weight are the two biggest factors.
- Different drinks have different APV levels. Having mixed drinks can make it difficult to keep track. Twelve ounces of beer have the same alcohol content as five ounces of wine.
- You will absorb alcohol more quickly if you eat on an empty stomach.
- It takes time for alcohol to reach your blood stream. If you consume large quantities of alcohol at once, you may find yourself heavily intoxicated a while later. This is because it sat in your stomach for a while before it was processed.
The first point is the biggest cause of error. If a 180-pound man has two drinks, his blood alcohol level (BAC) will be 0.04. A 100-pound woman having the same two drinks will have a 0.09 BAC.
This means that a 100-pound woman following the rule-of-thumb could be over the legal limit.
You Can’t Get a DUI if You Don’t Actually Move Your Vehicle
This is unfortunately not true. DUI laws vary by state. In some states, you get a DUI without moving your vehicle.
In New Hampshire, a driver was prosecuted for sleeping in his vehicle while intoxicated. The prosecution didn’t need to show that the driver operated or even intended to operate the vehicle.
In other states, the prosecutor must show that the driver intended to drive. This could be proven if the driver passed out while putting the keys in the ignition.
Other states are more lenient. In California, drivers must actually move the vehicle. However, moving the car by even an inch is enough to prosecute.
Don’t assume that you can sit in the front seat or sleep in the back. You may still be prosecuted. Check the laws in your jurisdiction first.
I Can’t Be Charged if My BAC is Under 0.08
This is possibly the biggest DUI myth. Some states allow drivers to be prosecuted for having DUIs below 0.08. However, the officer must demonstrate that you were impaired. If your BAC is 0.08 or over, you will be immediately arrested.
There Is No Difference Between Submitting to a Breathalyzer or Blood Test
Most states allow drivers suspected of DUIs to choose between taking a breathalyzer or blood test. Most drivers believe that it doesn’t matter which test they take. They accept the breathalyzer, because it is quicker.
This is a huge mistake. A breathalyzer won’t measure your actual blood content. It can only measure the amount of alcohol your body is burning through your breath. This is very unreliable.
If you had a drink recently, it may have a higher reading. Other factors can cause false positives, including:
- Breath acetone
- Cigarette smoke
Blood tests are much more accurate. Drivers are always encouraged to take a blood test, regardless of whether they have been drinking.
I Can Ask for a Blood Test and Hope to Sober Up Before It’s Administered
Don’t count on a long line at the hospital to save you from a DUI. First of all, your BAC probably won’t drop much by then.
Also, prosecutors can estimate your BAC at the time you were taken into custody. This is tricky and can leave room for a good defense. However, if your blood test shows a BAC of 0.07 an hour after you were first arrested, you can be easily convicted.
I Can Exercise or Drink Caffeine to Lower My BAC
Increasing your metabolism isn’t going to lower your BAC. The only thing that you can do is wait.
I Can Administer My Own Sobriety Tests and I Will Be Safe
Many people try using a variety of sobriety tests to convince themselves they are safe to drive. These tests are very unreliable. Even many over-the-counter breathalyzers aren’t accurate enough.
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