A drunk driver is very dangerous. So is a drunk backseat driver if he’s persuasive. –Demetri Martin
People will believe any number of dumb things if they think it has the slightest chance of being true and works in their benefit in some way. Sadly, countless people still drink and drive. It’s also rather humorous that a number of the mythical tricks I’m about to mention are used daily by those who do drink and drive. Believing somehow they are going to throw the police or their equipment off, allowing them to get away. It is almost counter intuitive to write about these myths, as why warn drunk drivers their tricks don’t work if it helps to get them off the road?
How I see it however is that perhaps if they realize these tricks don’t work, drunk drivers may not be brazen or brave enough to drive drunk again. So it is with that logic in mind that I present to you the most common myths about preventing DUIs you should immediately forget. Remember though, as dumb as these myths seem, it’s far dumber to drink and drive. So drink responsibly.
Myth: Sucking on a penny will throw a breathalyzer off.
Fact: Nope… no reasons to believe this.
Myth: Drinking milk masks the alcohol on your breath and throws of a breathalyzer.
Fact: Nope… milk does nothing to mask your BAC.
Myth: You must take filed sobriety tests upon request.
Fact: You are not required by law to take a field sobriety test. Police use it rather as a reference to see whether you may be intoxicated. Field sobriety tests, even when failed, are not used in court.
Myth: You must take a breathalyzer test upon request.
Fact: You in fact do not have to take a breathalyzer test if asked to. However, in most states, refusal to do so results in immediate loss of your license for up to a year. You do however avoid having a DUI on your record.
Myth: As a rule of thumb, having two drinks won’t get me a DUI.
Fact: The strength and quantity of the alcohol are what affect people’s BAC, along with their sex, weight, and amount of time that has elapsed since the last drink was finished. A single drink with enough alcohol could theoretically cause you to blow a BAC off the charts, as would occur with Everclear or Moonshine.
Myth: Coffee and water can sober up an intoxicated person.
Fact: Nothing can sober a person up save for time.
Myth: Beer and wine are safer to drink because they contain less alcohol than hard liquor.
Fact: The only truth to this is that beer and wine “CAN” contain less alcohol than other liquors. But the alcohol between the three types is the same regardless. All you need for a DWAI is a .05 BAC, and .o8 for a DUI.
Myth: You have the right to speak with your attorney before you speak to the police.
Fact: Your right to an attorney only kicks-in after you’ve answered their initial questions and declined or decided to take their tests. You do have the right however to remain silent always.
Myth: I will only be pulled over for a DUI if I’m driving erratically.
Fact: A police officer can pull you over for any number of reasons and realize you are drunk. Beyond that… there are always DUI check points.
Myth: Honesty is the best policy, and the police may go easy on me.
Fact: The police have a job, and it is not to be a teacher, or go easy on you. Their job is to prevent, stop, and catch criminals. Driving drunk throws you in with that lot.
Myth: If I spend the night sleeping before I drive home I’ll be safe.
Fact: This one is in fact sad, because the person probably was trying to do the right thing by not driving home the night before. But your BAC is what it is until your body expels all the alcohol. There is no way to speed this process up and you can easily receive a DUI the following day after a night of heavy drinking. If your BAC is above .05, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t a drink in 24 hours, you’ll still receive a DUI.
Myth: Refusing to work with the officer, in the least to help pass time, will help reduce my chance of getting a DUI.
Fact: By refusing to answer questions, or take tests, and generally not acting kindly, you can be charged with obstructing justice. Eventually, the police officer can arrest you, take you in, and force you to take a test. The best thing you can do is to remain civil, and answer any question you are comfortable answering. If there is anything you don’t care to answer, you always have the right to remain silent.
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @CustParadigm. When I’m not writing about DUI prevention myths, I can be found doing research for a DUI Defense Lawyer in my home state of Colorado.