In 2020, 290,000 people were injured in automobile accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Prominent reminders about the dangers of driving under the influence are seen frequently in the news, and many people know someone personally who has been involved in such an accident.
A number of myths about DUIs and DUI law have been propagated that make it more difficult for drivers to get trustworthy information about the subject. This guide will clear up four of the most common DUI myths.
Myth 1: A DUI Requires a Specific BAC Level
Some people may not feel like they are too impaired to drive if they have only had a drink or two. Unfortunately, this leads to drivers who skirt the line of intoxication, believing that they cannot legally be charged with a DUI if their blood-alcohol concentration is below a certain level. In reality, you can be arrested for DUI if an officer believes you are driving impaired no matter what your BAC level is.
If you are asked to take a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, refusing the test will likely mean immediate suspension of your license at least. Many states have implied consent laws explaining that drivers have consented to a breathalyzer test simply by operating their vehicle. No one wants to provide incriminating evidence, but your best course of action is to work with a DUI attorney who may be able to dispute your test results later.
Myth 2: Officers Must See You Driving to Arrest for DUI
If an officer can reasonably estimate that you have been driving under the influence, they can still arrest you even if your hands aren't currently on the wheel. This includes when you are leaving your vehicle or even if you have stopped on the side of the road. Police may question you to determine if you have been driving or investigate your vehicle for a warm motor, keys in the ignition, and other signs that it has been used.
Combining clues that a vehicle has been running with signs of impairment gives officers reasonable cause to arrest a driver for DUI. Impaired drivers may smell of alcohol, slur their speech, or have difficulty handling their license, registration, and other small items.
Myth 3: DUIs Are Impossible to Recover From
DUIs are not minor incidents: they come with possible license suspensions, a mark on your criminal record, and strain on your personal and professional relationships. While getting back on track after a DUI charge isn't easy, it's far from the end.
A DIY lawyer can scrutinize your case and help to reduce your charges and restore your driving privileges. DUI attorneys can also refer their clients to resources such as counseling and support groups to aid in their recovery. Your DUI attorney can be a key member of your support network after a DUI charge.
Myth 4: You Don't Need a DUI Law Specialist
Some drivers turn to a general defense attorney for assistance with DUI charges. However, an attorney with years of experience helping people in similar situations will always give better results.
Hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI law doesn't have to be expensive. Many DUI law firms offer low-cost counsel and flexible payment options for those in financial need. Associations such as the National College for DUI Defense can help to connect you with DUI specialists by providing searchable online directories.
Every driver can become more informed by learning the facts about DUI law. If you are ever in the unfortunate position of facing DUI charges, always hire a DUI attorney to help you navigate your case.