When it comes to driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are many myths and misconceptions that don’t ever seem to go away. People learn these from ill-informed friends and websites with dubious fact-checking, taking them at face value most of the time.
Who can blame them? Sometimes the myths sound reasonable enough to believe, but believing in them nonetheless can put someone at risk of serious legal trouble. We at The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. want to help people understand their rights and how the law really treats DWI issues.
Read on to learn more about some of the most common DWI myths and what the truth really is.
Myth 1: Breathalyzers Are Very Accurate
A lot of people incorrectly believe that breathalyzers are incredibly accurate devices that can measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The reality is that these devices can be wildly inaccurate if they are not properly calibrated.
Sometimes certain foods can even trigger a false positive. Protein bars, kombucha, vinegar, hot sauce, overly ripe fruit, and sugar-free gum are just a few of these items. There’s even evidence that a ketogenic diet can trigger a breathalyzer.
Myth 2: You Don’t Have to Say Anything If You Are Pulled Over
When you are stopped by a police officer who is investigating a possible DWI, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer his or her questions – but only to an extent.
In Texas, it is illegal to refuse to tell an officer your name, address, and date of birth. It’s also illegal to provide false information about yourself to a police officer whether you’re being arrested, detained, or are a witness to a crime.
Myth 3: If You Are Intoxicated, You Can Sit in Your Car Until You Sober up
A lot of people mistakenly believe they’re doing the right thing when they sober up in their car before driving. Even if you’re not moving or if your ignition isn’t even on, you can still be arrested for a DWI.
The law only requires that you are “operating” a vehicle when you “exert personal effort” to control it. This is highly subjective wording that can cause someone to get arrested even for sleeping in their car when it’s parked and their keys are away from the ignition.
Myth 4: It’s Worth a Shot to Lie about Drinking
Everyone knows the first question a police officer will ask if they are investigating a DWI: “Have you been drinking?” It’s very tempting to lie and say you haven’t, but if you have, it’s better to tell the truth.
If you lie to a police officer during a DWI investigation, it’s possible that you could be hit with additional charges, like obstruction of justice, if you’re arrested.
Myth 5: You Don’t Need an Attorney to Fight a DWI
You must seek legal representation from an experienced and qualified attorney if you hope to defeat a DWI charge against you.
A conviction can mean jail or prison time, steep fines, and loss of driving privileges that could severely impede your life. You can avoid these consequences by hiring an attorney to represent you. A skilled attorney can negotiate for less serious charges, get your case dismissed, or even help you prevail at trial.