Common DUI Myths

Posted On December 18, 2023 Drunk Driving by John Allen Phebus

If you are facing charges for allegedly driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, the best way to protect yourself is by learning as much as you can about this criminal offense. There are many common myths and misconceptions surrounding DUI charges. Learn the truth about what to expect if you have been arrested for a DUI with assistance from a DUI defense lawyer.

I Will Only Get Arrested for a Serious Traffic Infraction

False. Any violation of a traffic law or roadway rule, no matter how minor, can give a law enforcement officer probable cause to conduct a traffic stop. If the officer detects any potential signs of intoxication or impairment during the stop, he or she can arrest you for allegedly driving under the influence.

I Will Only Be Arrested for DUI With a BAC at or Above 0.08

False. In Arizona, an individual could be arrested on suspicion of DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level below 0.08 in many circumstances. The legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent. Arizona is also a Zero Tolerance state for drivers under the age of 21; any discernible BAC could lead to an arrest. Any sign of impairment could result in arrest regardless of a driver’s breathalyzer test results.

I Have to Comply With a Field Sobriety Test

False. Field sobriety tests are highly subjective. Many things could lead to a false positive, including various medical conditions. Although Arizona law requires drivers to consent to blood, urine and breath alcohol tests, field sobriety tests are optional. You do not have to cooperate with a request to take a field sobriety test, such as the one-legged stand test or horizontal gaze nystagmus test. If asked to partake in one of these tests, politely tell the officer you are using your right to refuse.

If I Cooperate With the Officer, They Will Lighten My Sentence

False. Police officers are not your friends. They may attempt to get you to admit to having consumed drugs or alcohol by appearing friendly or offering alleged deals. Do not take the bait. Use your right to remain silent. Do not answer any questions during police interviews or interrogations until you have an attorney present. Remember that the police can and will use anything you say against you during a DUI case.

I Can’t Get a DUI Since I Don’t Drink Alcohol

False. Under Arizona law, “DUI” does not only refer to driving under the influence of alcohol. It also refers to any drug or vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance if it impairs a driver to the slightest degree. It is against the law to drive while impaired by a drug – even one consumed legally, such as a prescription medication or medical marijuana with a valid registry card.

I Can Avoid a DUI Conviction by Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

False. Even without evidence of a BAC over the legal limit, refusing the breathalyzer test could be used as evidence in itself that you were driving under the influence. The prosecution can argue that had you been sober, you would have had no reason to refuse the test. In addition, under Arizona’s implied consent law, you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended for one year for refusing a breathalyzer, even if you are not convicted of a DUI.

I Don’t Need to Hire a DUI Attorney

While this depends on the case, it is generally not in your best interest to proceed with a DUI case without at least consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. A DUI conviction can affect many aspects of your life and future. Hiring an attorney is the most effective way to protect your rights and reduce the consequences of a DUI arrest.