This is by far the most common of all the DUI myths. You can be arrested for (and convicted of) DUI if you are under the "legal limit" of .08% B.A.C. In fact, there is no defined legal threshold. Instead .08% B.A.C. represents a point, above which, you are per se (or legally presumed to be) too impaired to drive. If you blow above this "legal limit" for DUI the burden shifts to the driver to show that the B.A.C. test results were not accurate; that the breath testing machine was not functioning properly or some enviromental factors caused an inaccurate reading. In Washington, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence if the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or while the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor. This simply means is that when you are under .08% (or there is no breath or blood test results) the burden shifts to the State to show your ability to drive was affected by alcohol.
Myth #2: I can't be charged with DUI if I'm taking prescription drugs as prescribed by my doctor.
Washington's DUI law states: "(1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state...While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug." More importantly, RCW 46.61.502(2) indicates: "The fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section." Therefore, whether the drugs are legal or not is irrellevant. The question is whether or not the driver's ability to drive was affected by the drug.
Myth #3: The officer is less likely to arrest me if I cooperate and pass his tests.
A source of frustration for DUI attorneys is when clients, whom may be innocent of DUI charges, have provided the prosecution with lots of "evidence" before ever talking to an attorney. Don't get me wrong, I do not blame the client for this. We are taught to cooperate with officers. On the other hand, officers are taught to be persuasive and take advantage of our fears and our willingness to do what an officer tells us to do. In my experience, if an officer is asking you questions about DUI or to take roadside tests she has already decided your fate. Anything you do in response to this "can and will be used against you." An officers' DUI training involves ways contacting the driver and documenting their observations in manner most likley to lead to a DUI conviction. Any questions asked and tests given are designed to bolster their case. Too often the act of trying to convince the officer that you are not intoxicated, and not to arrest for DUI, leads to a stronger DUI case in the end.
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