There are a lot of misconceptions about what can happen when you’re pulled over for drunk driving, but we’re here to clear up the urban legends you might have heard about DUIs.
Misconceptions about DUIs
1. “I have to be driving to be arrested for a DUI.”
An Ohio DUI conviction requires proof that the motorist was operating a vehicle. But an impaired person can be arrested and convicted of a crime just for being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle, for example, sitting in the driver's seat while in possession of the ignition keys. A conviction carries up to $1,000 in fines, a maximum of 180 days in jail, and a license suspension of up to one year. And that’s not just for driving a car. Under Ohio law, you may not operate a vehicle (car, bike, boat, or airplane) under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
2. “I’m not that drunk, so I should be okay to drive.”
A couple of beers or a couple of shots may not seem like a big deal, but it doesn’t take much to put you at the legal limit of .08% BAC (blood alcohol content). 3-4 regular-sized beers for an average size male could make him too drunk to drive. For a woman of average size, it may only take 1-3. You need to remember everyone is different, height, weight, body chemistry etc. Best practice is to plan ahead and put away those car keys.
3. “Putting breath spray or pennies in my mouth will trick the breathalyzer.”
Do you think mouthwash, gum, or coins under your tongue can impact your BAC reading? Think again. Actually, most mouth sprays contain traces of alcohol and other active ingredients that can increase a BAC level instead of lowering it. And as for pennies under the tongue, that’s just an urban myth. Coins/metal will not impact how the breathalyzer detects alcohol. Plus, there is a 20-minute observation period that the officer will typically make you remove everything from your mouth before the test.
4. “If I already have a DUI, getting another one won’t be that bad.”
In reality, the more DUIs you have, the worse the consequences could be. Your first offense could result in up to up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,075 in fines, and license suspension up to 3 years. For a second offense within 10 years, up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,625 in fines, and license suspension up to 7 years. A third offense within ten years could be up to 1 year in jail, up to $2,750 in fines, and license suspension up to 12 years. In worse cases, it could result in a felony.
5. “If I eat something or take a cold shower, then I should be sober enough to drive.”
A cup of coffee, a cold shower, a meal, a nap. These old tricks won’t really help you sober up. The only thing that helps you get sober is time, and it may take a while. Actually, the body’s highest spike in BAC is one hour after your last drink if you drink! Call for a ride.
6. “When stopped, I must do everything the officer asks”
You do not need to answer all of the officer’s questions. Instead, say: “I want to speak to an attorney before I say or do anything.” You do not need to submit to a urine test or blood test. These tests are not reliable, and they can be used against you.
7. “If I’m under 21, the consequences will be more lenient.”
Actually, the penalties for a DUI for drivers under 21 could be more serious. If you’re underage and get pulled over with a BAC of .02% (equivalent to one drink) or higher, you could be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. That means a maximum of 30 days in jail, fines up to $250, and a suspended license for 3 months to 2 years.
8. “There is no point in fighting DUI charges.”
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be significant, resulting in jail time, fines, and a suspended license. With the help of an experienced Ohio DUI lawyer, you can have the right tools to fight a DUI.
Are you or someone you know facing DUI / OVI charges?
If you are facing DUI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.