No one wants to get charged with a DUI. However, accidents and mistakes happen all the time. In some cases, you may not even realize you were doing anything wrong. If you would like to know more, check out these three common myths about driving under the influence.
1. Myth: You Have to Be Over the Legal Limit to Get a DUI
Typically, if you are driving and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or over, you are considered driving under the influence. However, you can actually get a DUI even if your BAC is less than 0.08.
For starters, if you are clearly intoxicated and are having trouble operating your vehicle, talking, standing, etc., you can get a DUI, regardless of your BAC. If you go to court for DUI charges, and your BAC was not 0.08 or higher, the prosecution will have more work to prove you are guilty.
If you are under the legal age to drink, nearly any amount of alcohol in your system could lead to a DUI. Some states allow underage drivers to have a BAC of 0.02, but other states have a strict 0.00 limit.
2. Myth: You Have to Do Everything the Officer Asks When Pulled Over
Whenever an officer pulls you over, you should be respectful and polite. However, if the officer suspects you of a DUI, it's important to know your rights. Most likely, the officer will ask if you've been drinking. You have no responsibility to answer "yes", but you should not lie, and you should respond in some fashion, such as invoking your Fifth Amendment.
The officer will also ask you to perform field sobriety tests like walking in a straight line, touching your nose, etc. These small actions are difficult for people who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Unlike a breathalyzer, there are no set rules on who passes and who fails. The officer must decide if you've passed, which can be problematic if the officer is already biased.
Speaking of the breathalyzer test, you do not have to agree to take an on-the-spot test. In fact, if the machine is faulty or hasn't been maintained properly, it could register the wrong amount. Therefore, it may be best to refuse the tests and allow yourself to be arrested, so you can take a more accurate test later.
3. Myth: You Can't Get a DUI for Prescription Medications
Some prescription medications can affect your ability to drive. They may make you sleepy and slow to react. Therefore, even if a doctor has prescribed a medication, you may be able to get a DUI for driving under the influence of your prescription medications.
Of course, in most cases, once you've taken the medication for a while, your body gets used to it and the side effects. However, if you mix your prescription medication with alcohol or drugs, it could lead to impairment, even if your BAC is not 0.08.
DUIs aren't always cut and dry, so it's important to understand your rights. If you've been charged with a DUI, it's time to get a lawyer in your corner. For more information, contact a DUI attorney in your area.