Los Angeles DUI Myths
There are many myths surrounding driving under the influence offenses. These stories are told and retold and many people unfortunately come to believe them. This can often lead to DUI charges. It is always important to know the DUI myths that continue to persist in order to avoid falling for them.
Myth #1: Putting A Penny in Your Mouth Will Throw Off the Results of The Breathalyzer Test
Many people have heard that putting a penny or other metal object in their mouth will prevent the Breathalyzer machine or Preliminary Alcohol Screening (“PAS”) device from detecting alcohol on their breath. This myth continues to exist despite the fact that there is absolutely no truth to it. Both the Breathalyzer and PAS device measure deep lung air. To produce a sufficient sample, the test taker must breathe forcefully into the testing device. Nothing placed in the mouth would be able to mask the deep lung air that is ultimately produced and tested.
Myth #2: I Can’t Get A DUI If I Am Driving Perfectly
A law enforcement officer must usually have reasonable cause before he or she can pull a driver over. This means that if the driver is not violating any law and is driving “perfectly,” there would be no grounds to stop the vehicle. One major exception that has become prominent in recent years is the use of DUI checkpoints. These enforcement checkpoints allow law enforcement officers to stop and briefly investigate all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and to look for potential DUI drivers. The California Supreme Court has found that these checkpoint operations are a constitutionally valid law enforcement exercise. This means that a person who is driving “perfectly” could still get arrested for DUI if he or she passes through a checkpoint.
Myth #3: Eating Food or Drinking Coffee Will Help Me Sober Up and Lower My BAC
While eating food or drinking coffee may help someone feel less intoxicated, these acts usually have a very minimal effect on a driver’s BAC level. A person’s BAC can still be very high even when he or she starts to feel sober. Unfortunately, many people get arrested for DUI when they are driving home in the morning after believing that they have “slept off” their intoxication. Measurements differ per individual, however a person’s BAC decreases by approximately 0.01 percent every hour. The amount of alcohol consumed and the time of drinking is critical in knowing the driver’s absorption rate. Drivers should always be careful before assuming that they are sober enough to drive.
Myth #4: I Have To Do Everything the Police Ask of Me during a DUI Stop
Many of those who have been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence have no prior experience in dealing with law enforcement and may not know what tests can and cannot be legally refused. A driver is under no obligation to make incriminating statements to an officer when asked questions such as “have you been drinking tonight?” or “when was your last drink?” Drivers should not lie but can respond by politely saying “why are you asking me that?” or telling the officer that they are not comfortable discussing the subject.
The officer may ask the driver to complete a series of field sobriety tests. These tests are not mandatory and a driver can legally refuse to participate in the tests. These tests are very difficult to pass even when sober and a driver’s performance on the test may give the officer probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI.
Most drivers are also allowed to refuse to provide a breath sample on the PAS device used in the field. It is important to remember that drivers who are under 21 or who are on probation for DUI cannot legally refuse a PAS test.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Lawyer Michael Kraut can help you sort through the facts and myths surrounding DUI laws and procedures. Mr. Kraut is highly respected throughout the court system as a top-notch DUI litigator.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI myths, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.