A driving under the influence (DUI) arrest is very serious and life altering. If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your driver's license could be suspended for twelve months or more. You may be required to pay fines and court costs, complete community service mandated by the court, enroll in a DUI education program, serve probation or even jail time.
Relying on advice from friends, or examples on TV is never a good idea when it comes to the law. Being misinformed can cause you to further incriminate yourself or miss out on opportunities to save your driver's license. You also should not rely on the police to inform you of your rights. Keep reading to learn about the truth behind common DUI myths.
Myth 1: If your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit, you cannot get a DUI.
If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence and has probable cause, they can stop you. An officer can make an initial stop for a variety of reasons, including a person's behavior, driving inconsistencies, posture while driving, and more. All an officer needs to make an initial DUI stop is an inclination that a driver might be intoxicated, and there are countless small reasons to justify that suspicion.
Once you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer will confirm whether you are legally intoxicated. This confirmation comes first in the form of roadside sobriety tests and later as a chemical test.
Across the United States, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 is considered the legal limit. While some jurisdictions may have different BAC requirements, a person is considered to be impaired in their ability to drive safely at a BAC of .08. If you are stopped for a DUI and your BAC is .08 or higher, you can expect to be arrested for a DUI. You may pass other sobriety tests administered by the officer, but BAC is often the definitive standard.
A common myth about DUIs is that a BAC less than .08 will not result in an arrest. However, this is not true. You can still be arrested for a DUI even if your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit. Many jurisdictions allow officers to establish legal intoxication based on an individual's behavior, driving, involvement in an accident, and other qualifications. Any level of alcohol in your system can be used to make a DUI arrest. In Florida the breath test must come after the arrest. Once you are arrested, there is no going back. The officer will not release you if the blow is below .08. Typically, when the blow is below .08 the officer will conclude that the person has alcohol and something else in their system. They will then request that you submit to a urine test.
Myth 2: If you have a prescription, you cannot get arrested for a drug DUI.
Many people across the country rely on prescription medication to stay healthy and combat chronic illnesses. However, it is essential that you pay attention to the side effects of your medication. Medications that cause drowsiness, impaired motor function, or impair your judgement can severely impact your ability to drive. Driving while under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs, can be dangerous based on the medication's side effects.
A drug DUI arrest can be made for prescription drugs, over the counter, or illegal drugs. The drug itself does not matter as much as the impact of the drug on your ability to drive. You can be charged with a DUI even if you did not realize the medication was impairing your ability to drive. When your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to ask about potential side effects to prevent driving under the influence.
If you have taken a prescription medication that you do not have a prescription for, you can also be charged with possession of a controlled substance in addition to a DUI. If you are under the influence of illegal drugs, that opens another can of worms and brings more potential charges.
Myth 3: If the police do not read your Miranda rights, you can win your case.
Most of what the average citizen knows about Miranda rights was learned from TV and movies. Police officers are not always required to advise you of your rights, and Miranda rights apply in situations of custodial interrogation. If you are in police custody and being interrogated, officers must advise you of your rights. While officers may read your rights when you are arrested for a DUI, they do not necessarily have to. Miranda case law is complex. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you. I have written on this topic before.
Myth 4: When you are arrested for DUI, you will immediately lose your license.
In many states, a DUI results in an automatic license suspension. The arresting office will take your driver's license at the time of the arrest and provide you with a temporary license. The temporary license is your DUI citation. In Florida, the temporary license is only valid for business purposes and driving to work.
Drivers in Florida have ten days to contest the suspension of their license. If you do nothing, your license will automatically be suspended 10 days after your DUI arrest. By requesting an administrative hearing, a license suspension can potentially be overturned, and the driver's license may be reinstated. A lawyer can help a driver prove that the arresting officer did not have probable cause or raise a variety of legal issues to invalidate the license suspension.
How long your driver's license is suspended depends on a wide range of factors. Different states and jurisdictions enforce different minimum suspension lengths. Prior convictions, blood alcohol concentration, refusal of a breath test, and more can all impact how long your driver's license is suspended after a DUI arrest. Typically, a person that is arrested for a first time DUI will face a 6-12 month driver's license suspension.
Understand the Truth About a DUI Arrest
Relying on outside information when it comes to a DUI can cause serious problems. It is best to understand the law and your situation from an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer can help you understand your options following a DUI arrest, including getting your driver's license back. We are here to answer your criminal defense questions anytime day or night. Contact us today.