Driving under the influence carries stiff penalties that can affect you for the rest of your life. You can avoid a DUI charge if you make smart decisions and follow sound advice, but sometimes it can be difficult to determine which advice is truth and what is fiction. Today, we take a look at four common DUI myths.
Drunk Driving Myths
Here are four myths about DUIs, as well as some sound advice.
#1 You’re fine to drive if you only had two drinks – There is no “one size fits all” rule when it comes to drinking and driving because drinks have different alcohol content and our bodies absorb alcohol at different rates. One 12oz mixed drink like a Long Island Iced Tea or Margarita can put you over the 0.08 legal limit. There are free smartphone apps that can help you estimate your blood-alcohol content, but they are rough estimates and should never be your final determinant if you’re good to drive. If you even suspect that you’re close to the legal limit, find a safe ride home.
#2 You can drive because you live a few blocks away – This is less of a myth and more of an example of poor reasoning, but it’s one of the more common excuses we hear when talking with clients. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of DUIs occur within a few miles of a suspect’s home. If you really live that close, keep a jacket in your car so you can walk home at the end of the night, or better yet, have the bar call a cab. If you can’t afford a $10 cab, you certainly can’t afford a $10,000 DUI.
#3 Pennies, gum and mouthwash can fool a breathalyzer – A friend or coworker has probably told you a story about how they “know a guy” who beat a breathalyzer by sucking on a penny or by gargling mouthwash before blowing into the breathalyzer. That’s simply not true. Police technology has advanced to the point that a tiny amount of copper or zinc isn’t going to fool the reader. In fact, if a cop catches you with pennies in your mouth, you could be hit with a charge of obstruction of justice. If you get pulled over, there’s no need to reach for the coins or mouthwash.
#4 You need to be driving to be charged with DUI – We’re not saying that you can be charged with DUI if you’re a passenger in a vehicle that is stopped by police, but you can get a DUI, even if you’re not driving, if police determine that you are in “physical control” of the car. We explained what physical control means in a short whiteboard video, but essentially, if your keys are within reach, and you’re in the driver’s seat, you are in physical control of the vehicle, even if your car isn’t running. We’ve handled cases where our client knew they were too drunk to drive, so they decided to sleep it off in their car. Unfortunately, the court can deem that they are in physical control of the vehicle, and charge them with driving under the influence.
Avery Appelman is a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Avery the owner and managing partner at Appelman Law Firm. If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI or for any other criminal charge in the greater Twin Cities area, reach out to Avery for a free consultation.