As attorneys that focus our practice on working with clients facing Colorado DUIs and related charges, we often come across a variety of misconceptions when it comes to the DUI process. From being pulled over to trial, it is important to understand these misconceptions because they can have a significant impact on your ability to successfully challenge your DUI. In this two-part series, we will explore some common myths and misconceptions about DUIs.
You Must Take Roadside Sobriety Tests
This is false. In fact, most attorneys will advise you against taking these tests. The problem is that your attorney is not there to tell you not to take them when you are approached for suspicion of driving under the influence. While you do have to submit to chemical testing or you will likely have your license suspended regardless of whether you have been drinking or not, chemical testing is not the same as roadside sobriety testing. Taking roadside sobriety tests usually only serves to give law enforcement officials additional evidence to use against you in court. It is not your job to help them attain a conviction.
Buzzed Driving is Not Drunk Driving
While technically not as egregious as driving under the influence, this is false. Only a couple of drinks can raise your blood alcohol concentration to an unsafe level. Any reading above 0.05% can get you charged with a DWAI, or driving while ability impaired. The consequences of conviction for this charge are not always as serious as they are for a DUI, but they can still have a negative impact on your life and livelihood. Only sober driving is safe driving.
All Drinks Have the Same Amount of Alcohol
This is most definitely false. When something refers to one standard drink, it means a drink that has approximately 14 grams of alcohol in it and typically refers to:
- One 12-ounce beer with roughly 5% alcohol;
- One five-ounce glass of wine with roughly 12% alcohol; or
- One and half ounces of straight alcohol with roughly 40% alcohol content.
That means you need to be careful with oversized drinks or drinks that have higher alcohol contents. It is not uncommon to find beers in many establishments with 8% alcohol or more. This means that having one beer with a higher content of alcohol by volume can impair you just as quickly as two beers with a lower content of alcohol by volume. Some mixed drinks and craft cocktails can have three ounces of pure alcohol or more in each drink. The moral of the story is you need to know what you are drinking and how much alcohol is in it in order to make informed choices.
Alcohol is Always the Cause of Raised BAC Readings
This is not necessarily true, as there are other potential causes of raised BAC readings due to mouth alcohol. Mouth alcohol can come from alcohol trapped in dental work like dentures, from some breath sprays, from acid reflux, and even from some medicines. Even diabetic issues can cause mouth alcohol to form. Mouth alcohol can, in turn, cause false or raised readings when it comes to your blood alcohol concentration. That is why it is extremely important for individuals facing DUI charges to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney and be forthcoming about any and all information that could potentially be important to that person’s case. If you are facing Colorado DUI charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation and find out more about your Colorado DUI charges as well as what options might be available in your defense.
(image courtesy of Thomas Picauly)