Like many other legal processes, there are several popular myths related to DUI laws. Some of these misconceptions are entirely untrue and can do more harm than good if you believe them.
If you are facing DUI charges and would like to speak with a DUI lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, contact Leader & Leader, PA today at 954-523-2020. Our response line is available 24 hours per day, and as your legal counsel, we will be available whenever you have questions or concerns.
Read on to learn the truth behind three DUI myths:
- You can trick a breathalyzer.
Breathalyzers measure a person’s blood alcohol content. According to Florida law, officers can use this information as physical evidence in court to prove that you were too impaired to operate a vehicle.
There are a number of popular myths regarding ways to fool a breathalyzer into giving a lower reading. These include placing a penny or battery in your mouth, brushing your teeth, drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette; however, the truth is that the approved machine used in the State of Florida has several safeguards to alert the operator if certain things are interfering with the machine. Additionally, there is a required twenty minute observation period before the breath test is administered in which the officer or operator is supposed to check your mouth to make sure nothing is inside and then are meant to watch you for twenty minutes before the test is administered. If the machine is operating properly, it should alert the operator to a problem or, in many instances, give a reasonably accurate reading. However, there are many factors that can impact the accuracy of the test that the indicators may not pick up but these are typically not the kinds of things you can intentionally do to “trick” the machine before a test after an arrest for DUI while in police custody.
If you have a genuine concern that you will blow over the legal limit, it may be wise to respectfully decline a breath test in certain scenarios. However, we must be clear that we are not suggesting or advising anyone to refuse a breath test as such a decision is personal and can only be advised on a case by case basis. This is not and should not be considered legal advice about what you should do in a particular situation. If you have ever refused a breath test before, a second refusal can create another criminal charge for refusing a breath test (when you have a prior refusal); in some jurisdictions, they seek thirty (30) to ninety (90) days in jail or more just for the refusal count. Additionally, even if we can defeat the DUI charge, the refusal count can be more difficult to overcome. We cannot and are not advising anyone to knowingly and intentionally violate this or any other law. As noted above the penalties for the refusal can be more severe than the breath test itself.
- Stick to two drinks.
You may have heard of the two-drink rule, which says that if you only have one or two beers, your BAC will stay below .08. Although this may be true in certain cases, it depends on the individual.
Everyone responds to alcohol differently, and a combination of tolerance, body weight, biological sex and even the food in your stomach can affect your BAC. The best course of action is to have a designated driver if you plan to drink or use a car service or cab.
Many people blow over and do not understand why stating they only had “two drinks”. However, “drinks” for the purpose of determining your blood or breath alcohol content, is not a glass or cup but rather a measured amount of alcohol. You can have two vodka cranberry beverages that have ounces of vodka in each glass. After consuming two glasses, you actually may have ingested six drinks (three ounces of vodka per glass x 2 glasses) and will very likely be over the legal limit depending on when you consumed the drinks, over what period of time as well as other factors.
- Field sobriety tests are mandatory.
Walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet backward and forward, and touching your finger to your nose are among the many sobriety tasks police officers may ask you to perform if they suspect you have been drinking. Many drivers assume these are just part of the protocol, so they consent without considering the consequences. These tasks are not just based upon physical performance but more importantly, the ability to divide your attention between multiple instructions and things at a given time; they are technically divided attention tasks. Some people may be arrested based upon their performance on these exercise even if they never consumed alcohol or drugs. You cannot be forced to undertake these tasks but your refusal to do them will likely be argued as consciousness of guilty and if the officer believes they have enough to arrest you on their observations up until that point, they may still arrest you. If you were to perform poorly, the argument of consciousness of guilt is likely less damaging than very poor performance. In many instances, they are not recorded and your performance is whatever the officer says it ways. If you believe you can do well in all aspects of these exercises and they are being videotaped, they could be evidence that helps your defense. The bottom line, there is no clear cut answer of what someone should do as every situation is unique to the facts and circumstances of the given scenario. What is important to understand is you can respectfully decline to do exercises simply because you have heard or read that they are not trustworthy or reliable, because you have medical ailments or injuries that may impact your performance or for any other reason. In fact, you may feel you are being wrongfully accused of DUI to begin with and do not want to do anything without speaking to an attorney, regardless of what the police (who are not on your side in most situations such as this) tell you. You do not need to give a reason at all. However, if you have a specific reason, unrelated to alcohol or drug use, giving it at the time is sometimes helpful in avoiding the need to have a client testify about why they declined them as it can be elicited from the officer at the time of hearing or trial.
If you would like to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney about your DUI case, contact Leader & Leader, PA today at 954-523-2020 to schedule a consultation.