Salisbury DUI Myths
Despite how common DUI charges are in Maryland, there are still a large number of myths and misconceptions commonly associated with this charges. With this in mind, the following are some of the most common myths regarding DUI charges and whether they are true or false. To learn more or discuss your case, call a Salisbury DUI lawyer today.
Myth 1: You Should take the Preliminary Breath Test if You’re Sure Your BAC Is Below .08
This is a myth because it is very difficult for people to know exactly what their breath test result will be. People are so often shocked at what little amount of alcohol it takes to blow a 0.08 and often times people who think that they are sober because they only had, say, 2 glasses of wine, as they do most nights, are surprised when they blow 0.08 or higher. It’s important to note that the results of the preliminary breath tester device would never be admissible in court. However, the Salisbury police will factor that breath test result into his decision as to whether or not he or she will arrest the individual.
My advice is to refuse all tests and not give the state any opportunity to potentially have incriminating evidence against them.
Myth 2: Breathalyzers Are Reliable and Consistent
This is true in a situation where all factors are ideal. If the Breathalyzer machine is in proper working order and has been regularly maintained, then it can be very reliable. However, there is no guarantee that the Breathalyzer machines in Salisbury are being properly maintained. There have been many examples in several states, including the District of Columbia, where the Breathalyzer machines were not being regularly maintained and the results were therefore false and inaccurate.
Aside from the machine itself, the person providing the breath sample could be a factor that impacts whether or not the breath test result is accurate. For example, if the breath sample is contaminated by alcohol that was residual mouth alcohol and not a reading pulled from the deep lung air, but instead is air that has been contaminated with residual alcohol in the person’s mouth, then the result might be inaccurate.
Another example is if an individual wears poorly fitted dentures. Sometimes alcohol will actually be located in some of those places where the dentures do not properly fit. If an individual has burped or has regurgitated any of the contents of their stomach and that air is used in the breath sample, it could give an inaccurately high reading. When all conditions are ideal, with both the Breathalyzer machine and the person providing the breath sample, the result should be accurate. However, if there are any deficiencies with the machine or if there are any deficiencies with the breath sample itself, then the results could be inaccurate.
Myth 3: Officer Cannot Justify a DUI Arrest Unless You Are Drunk
This is a myth. It’s important to remember that in order for somebody to be placed under arrest, a Salisbury police officer has to have probable cause that the person is driving drunk. Probable cause is a very low evidentiary standard. It is nowhere near the same evidentiary standard as required in a trial, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Probable cause simply means that it’s more likely than not that a person is driving drunk (even if they aren’t).
Considering that it’s such a low evidentiary standard, an officer can justify making an arrest based on just a few observations. The officer may only observe a very basic traffic violation. For example, if a driver fails to signal before making a turn, the officer could suggest a few factors that contributed to the driver’s coordination or lack thereof. Based on these facts alone and possibly results of the field test, the officer can place a driver under arrest. It’s important for people to understand this before driving, because the arrest itself can be damaging to a person’s career or their family.
Myth 4: It’s Hard For An Officer To Tell if I’m Only Buzzed
This is not true for a couple different reasons. First, someone who has been consuming alcohol is going to be a bad judge of whether or not they are slightly buzzed. Many of people have experienced or seen friends who had no idea how intoxicated they were and how they were appearing to outsiders; they were under the impression that they were acting very normally and appeared to be sober and yet everybody else could, very obviously, tell they were intoxicated.
It’s important to remember that officers in Salisbury receive a great deal of training in what they should be looking for and what observations they should be making to justify an arrest. The officer will be looking at conduct from the minute that they make contact with the driver. They are going to be looking at the driver’s appearance, they are going to be listening to the driver’s speech, and they are going to be watching as the driver attempts to locate their driver’s license and their registration card. In all of those different scenarios, the officer could find probable cause to arrest a person for a DUI.
An individual who thinks that they are just slightly buzzed is in great jeopardy if they drive because the officer is going to be looking to articulate all kinds of different ways to suggest that that person’s coordination has been impacted.
Myth 5: You Can’t Be Charged With a DUI in Your Own Driveway
This is another myth. Most likely, an officer, at some point, was observing a person driving before the person realized and pulled into their own driveway. If the officer observes any driving on roadways or the street leading up to the person’s garage or their driveway, then that evidence can be used against them, even if their contact with the police officer occurs in their driveway. Depending on what the person’s driveway or roadway looks like, even if they were just driving on their own private property, they could face a DUI.