Myths are commonplace in the world of DUIs. Many drivers who choose to drive when intoxicated on multiple occasions believe they lead a charmed life because they have never been caught. That may be true until the night they have an accident or see flashing blue lights behind them from a patrol car.
Those myths about DUIs can be as hazy as their recollection of the night before if they have had one drink too many.
Here are six of the most common DUI myths in California.
1. The Two Drink Rule
Many people will tell you if you have two drinks or less you won't get a DUI.
You can't rely on the two drink rule to beat a breath test. Your level of impairment can depend on a host of factors including the time of day, the rate of consumption, age, sex, the strength of the drinks, your emotional state and hydration level.
2. Using Mouthwash or Spray Can Lower your Blood/Alcohol Content
The urban myth that certain products can lower your BAC content has been around for some time. A breath spray or mouthwash might remove the smell of alcohol from your breath but it certainly won't help to pass a breath or blood test. Some of these products may contain small traces of alcohol and can actually elevate your BAC level. If a police officer sees you hastily spraying something into your mouth or rinsing, it may alert them to investigate further.
3. Coffee Can Sober You Up Fast
Coffee may make you feel more alert, but may also just make you feel more awake when still impaired to drive. It takes several hours for alcohol to be eliminated from the blood stream and unfortunately caffeine does not help metabolize alcohol any faster. Coffee may have a negative effect - you may feel more vigilant when in fact, you're still intoxicated.
4. The Breath Test is Always Accurate
Breath tests are not always accurate or consistently applied by police officers. Many different types of breathalyzers are used in
California by law enforcement agencies. These devices are prone to a wide range of problems and malfunctions.
A study about a decade ago by
Dr. Michael Hlastala of the University of Washington
suggested breath tests are frequently unreliable. The anatomical structure of the lungs means
the alcohol concentration in the breath can be influenced by factors including body temperature, lung volume, body size and breath temperature.
Blood tests are more accurate but are not without problems.
If a breathalyzer is malfunctioning or the officer is not using it properly, the officer is unlikely to tell you there's a problem. Don't believe the myth that breath tests are infallible.
5. A DUI is Just a Driving Offense - It's Not a Big Deal
Back in the 1970s drunk driving was not taken as seriously as it is today. People often received light sentences. Today, a DUI conviction can cost your employment, your livelihood and could land you in jail.
If you are arrested for allegedly driving under the influence with a BAC of 0.08 % or more, your driver's license will be confiscated by the arresting officer. You will receive a temporary driver's permit which will be valid for 30 days from the date of the arrest. You may be eligible for an extension if you call the DMV within 10 days from the date of the arrest.
If convicted of a DUI you will likely face ongoing issues such as a suspension of your driving privileges and a hike in your insurance premiums.
6. You Will Beat a DUI By Refusing to Take the Test
California has an implied consent law requiring you to take a test if you are lawfully arrested for a suspected DUI. A refusal can lead to more serious consequences with both the court and the DMV.
If you are arrested, the police officer should inform you that if you refuse to take the test, you will be fined, you will be stripped of your license, and you could be jailed if you are subsequently convicted of a DUI. Read more about California's implied consent law
If you have been charged with a DUI in Orange County, you should contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry at (877) DUI-Queen as soon as possible for experienced legal representation.