Holiday Drivers Beware! 8 Common DUI and Drunk Driving Myths
Note: Nothing on this site should be construed as legal advice, and if you’ve been arrested for a DUI we recommend consulting with a lawyer, not the internet!
You can refuse a field test. You can try, but in places like the state of California, you either have to take a breath test or a blood test, unless you want to face instant license suspension and a presumption of guilt, as defined by the implied consent law. If you refuse the breath test and are arrested, the blood test is going to be more accurate, which means that it is harder to challenge if the accuracy is not in your favor. While you could technically say that refusing a blood alcohol test is legal, the reality of the situation is going to be different.
You can suck on a penny to beat the test. Wrong. The penny does nothing, but if an officer sees a penny in your mouth, he/she is likely to apply more stringent tests.
I can use mints, or gum, or lick a piece of tinfoil. Not only is this untrue (see #2 above) but it also just makes you look and smell more suspicious. The officer may be pulling you over for another violation, or to warn you about a hazard up ahead, and now sees you chewing a fresh stick of gum. Either that or he thinks you’ve had a few mojitos or shots of schnapps. No patrolman wants to be walking up to a car and see someone fumbling in the glovebox. There are no circumstances where you want your blood alcohol level checked by a coroner.
(An old one) You can use cough drops to beat the test, because they will show a fatal BAC, voiding the results. Every once in a while we still hear this. If you think about it, an officer who saw such a high concentration would arrest you and use the blood test as a backup.
Roadside sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court upheld sobriety checkpoints in 1990. However, if you still want to try and argue your constitutional rights, it is best to be sober anyway. Getting into a late night constitutional debate with a police officer is a losing proposition 99.9% of the time.
A single drink is not enough to fail a breathalyzer. This can be untrue for a few reasons. For starters, you may have had a drink on an empty stomach. You may have a medical condition (like hypoglycemia) where your body is creating its own background alcohol level. The breathalyzer may be inaccurate. You could burp while breathing, and may not even know it. This creates a false positive. With lower acceptable levels like .08 BAC being used as a standard, you need to be vigilant. If you’re under 21, any BAC is going to be used against you, even if you are not legally impaired.
You have to be driving a car. Any vehicle operation under the influence is drunk driving, even if you’re riding a bike. While a good DUI lawyer may be able to argue against this in front of a jury, you are still taking your chances when you drive your golf cart, lawnmower, or forklift under the influence of alcohol. In some states, all you have to do is be in a position to operate the car, which is a bit unfair if you choose to sleep it off while keeping the heater running.
You can stall the police by demanding an attorney. While it is true that you should retain an attorney for any questioning and searches, you have to contact an attorney within a reasonable time. The police have calculations for determining BAC between the traffic stop and the test. Delays will not always work out in your favor because your blood alcohol level can rise over time before your body metabolizes alcohol. In almost any case involving the police an attorney’s presence is a best practice, as long as you know that experienced police officers have seen your tactic before, and may be a bit cynical about it.
As always, remember that lawyers are there to protect your rights, not cover for your wrongdoing. Even though this website is dedicated to Los Angeles DUI Lawyer and attorney information, we believe it is in the public interest to dissuade people from driving under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. LA DUI attorneys aren’t going to go broke any time soon, because too many people get behind the wheel when they should be getting a designated driver or taxi. Even if the cab ride costs $100 (and many new year cab rides are free) this is a bargain compared to the cost of aggressive drunk driving defense. If you have been arrested for DUI in Southern California or anywhere else, legal advice is highly recommended. An attorney can challenge the lawfulness of the traffic stop, the methods used to gather evidence, and the physical evidence itself. People should be considered innocent until proven guilty, and all that good stuff, but avoiding a DUI conviction starts with not getting into a car while drinking.
Special note: Always consult with a licensed Attorney in your city and state.