Raleigh, NC– Each year, law enforcement officers throughout the U.S. arrest over a million people for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Even though DUI arrests are fairly common, and some people know at least one person who has been in trouble for drinking and driving, there are many misconceptions about DUIs. We’d like to dispel some of those myths for you.
I will only get pulled over for driving erratically
Wrong! Although police are not allowed to pull over a driver specifically to find out if they have been drinking, they can pull you over for a minor traffic violation. Police can find any excuse to pull a person over; maybe you forgot to use your turn signal, slightly drifted in your lane or forgot to turn on your headlights. All of these are legitimate reasons for an officer to pull a person over, but their main goal is to determine if you have been drinking, especially if it is at night when there are more drunken drivers on the road.
I have to take the field sobriety test
Wrong! If an officer suspects a driver is under the influence they will them to conduct field sobriety tests, but the driver doesn’t have to take these tests. Some field sobriety tests are hard for sober people to do without making a mistake. And even if you perform well in a battery of field sobriety tests, an officer can still decide to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. There are consequences to refusing both the field sobriety test and a breathalyzer such as having your license suspended. But a skilled DUI attorney can fight this and you may be allowed to keep your license.
Breathalyzers are accurate
This is wrong, wrong, wrong! Even though breathalyzers are commonly used, it is not a perfect test, and BAC readings can be inaccurate. Blood tests are more accurate, but these are typically only used when an officer suspects a driver of being under the influence of drugs or they refuse a breathalyzer. Breathalyzers are sensitive pieces of equipment and must be calibrated on a regular basis, if they aren’t they will give an inaccurate reading and people can be wrongfully charged with DUI. Additionally, some people who have medical conditions such as diabetes, or have taken cough medicine or used a breath spray can give false reading on a breathalyzer.
I have to be driving an automobile to be charged with DUI
Wrong! You do not have to be in a car or truck to be charged with a DUI. If you are walking, boating or riding a bike or scooter—heck, even a lawnmower—you can be pulled over and charged with a DUI.
I don’t need an attorney to fight a DUI
This is so wrong! Many people have this misguided notion that DUIs are not that serious, but they truly are. Even though you may be able to avoid jail for your first offense, the impact of your arrest extends far beyond jail; you will face costly fines, possibly lose your driver’s license and have a permanent record not easily expunged. These are just the most frustrating penalties; there are many more depending on your level of intoxication and prior record. DUI attorneys know how to build an effective defense strategy, and will do everything in their power to stop your conviction. If they believe the evidence is stacked against you, a DUI attorney is capable of negotiating a plea bargain that benefits you the most.