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DC DUI Myths

With the high number of DUIs that occur in DC there are many misconceptions people have regarding how to react when law enforcement pulls someone over.

An experienced DUI lawyer in DC can help provide a person with a better understanding of the myths surrounding DUIs and what their legal rights are. To learn more or discuss a case, call and schedule a free consultation today.

Taking Breathalyzer Test If Positively Under the Legal Limit

A driving under the influence charge does not require a Breathalyzer reading of .08 or above. People can be charged with driving under the influence when their breath is at a .03. Even if a person is positive that their blood alcohol level is below a .08, they can still theoretically be charged with driving under the influence.

While the .08 is relevant to a driving under the influence charge, it is a key component of driving while intoxicated. If a person is over a .08, they can be charged with driving while intoxicated.

Therefore, a DUI lawyer would not recommend taking a portable Breathalyzer to prove that a person is okay to drive. Although the Breathalyzer test results are not admissible in court because they are notoriously inaccurate, the results can be used to form the basis for a police officer to make an arrest.

Are Breathalyzers Reliable and Consistent Indicators of BAC?

If a Breathalyzer is properly calibrated and maintained, the test is properly administered, and the person who is taking the Breathalyzer does not have a medical condition that would prevent an accurate test, a Breathalyzer test can be accurate. However, there are a variety of factors that play into a reliable test and if any of these components are not present, the Breathalyzer test will not be accurate.

BAC is a reliable and consistent indicator of driver impairment only under a very limited set of circumstances. Blood alcohol content can be tested well after a person has been driving. Thus, it is not necessarily a reliable indicator of a person’s blood alcohol content at the time that they were driving.

The validity of testing for blood alcohol content is dependent upon a variety of factors. If any one of those factors is not handled properly, for example, the way the sample is collected, stored, or analyzed, then the results of the testing may not be a reliable indicator of impairment.

Officers Cannot Justify a DUI Arrest Unless a Person is Really Drunk

Police officers conducting a DUI investigation can be inherently biased. They are also not experts, in the true sense of the word, when it comes to conducting a DUI investigation. Often, officers will conduct DUI investigations at night, in bad weather, and under varying temperatures. When an officer is not at a lab, an investigation can sometimes be inherently biased.

Even if a person is not intoxicated, it is almost impossible to pass the standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) that the officers conduct during a DUI investigation. The officers are trained to look for clues of impairment, but are often not trained well. The SFST’s are difficult even for a sober person to do.

Officers Cannot Tell If a Person is Just Slightly Buzzed

First of all, to say that someone is “slightly buzzed” depends on the person. One person may not feel slightly buzzed when their blood alcohol is about .01. Some may not feel slightly buzzed until they are .2 BAC, so this is an unfortunately subjective way of looking at this. Often, even if a driver feels only slightly buzzed, the officer will be able to observe that.

Can a Person Be Arrested for DUI in Their Own Garage or Driveway?

Whether a person can be arrested for DUI in their own driveway depends on the circumstances. A person can be arrested for a DUI if the officer witnesses the person driving and believes that there is a reason to suspect that the person is under the influence. They can stop a person in their driveway.

If an officer sees a person outside of their car and does not see them driving, the officer would not likely have a basis to stop a person if they are in their driveway The officer would not have a basis to even test a person or perform standardized field sobriety tests to determine if they are under the influence.

A Person Can Talk Their Way Out of a DUI Arrest

Once a person is pulled over and an officer begins to conduct a DUI investigation, it is almost impossible to avoid being arrested. Officers are consciously or unconsciously looking for ways to arrest a person, they are looking for clues of impairment and they often find them when none exist.

If a Person Tells the Officer They Had One or Two Drinks, They will Understand

Another myth is that if a person tells a police officer they only had one or two drinks, then that is somehow going to convince the officer that they are not under the influence and they should stop the DUI investigation. That is never going to happen.

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