Baltimore DUI Myths

After someone is pulled over during a traffic stop, they may be unsure of what to do next. Many people think they should fully cooperate with local police officers so as to not aggravate their situation further. While it is always important to remain cordial and polite with an arresting officer, a person is not required to follow every instruction they are given by a police officer. To learn more about popular and persistent myths related to a DUI or DWI charge, speak with an experienced Baltimore DUI attorney today.

Myth: If Positive Your BAC is Below .08 You Should Take the PBT

Verdict: False

Portable Breathalyzer tests are inadmissible in court to show the specific BAC level. A PBT is only used by the officer to generate probable cause to arrest a person for suspicion of DUI. It is a voluntary test where there is no penalty for refusing to submit to the test. It always makes sense to refuse that type of test. If the only thing the test can do is hurt a person and there’s no penalty for saying no, they should always say no.

There have been situations where an individual will blow zero into a PBT and still be arrested for DUI based on the theory that they are impaired by something other than alcohol. It never makes sense to blow in a portable breath test.

Myth: Breathalyzers are a Reliable and Consistent Indicator of BAC 

Verdict: False

Breathalyzers are not reliable or consistent. There’s is a partition ratio that extrapolates an individual’s breath alcohol content into blood alcohol content; the machine uses the same partition ratio for everyone who takes the test. In reality, there are significant differences between partition ratios among individuals based on gender, body size, and those types of factors. Breathalyzers generally are not as reliable and consistent indicators of blood alcohol content as people are led to believe.

Myth: Officers Cannot Justify A DUI Arrest Unless You are Drunk

Verdict: False

Police officers in Baltimore arrest individuals on the slimmest evidence of impairment. They can arrest a person based on  probable cause. In order to convict a person, they need to prove that case beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many cases where an officer believed they had enough evidence to arrest a person, but the court decides if there is not enough evidence to convict.

The actual subjective level of impairment is difficult for an officer to determine. However, that is not necessarily what they look at when they are deciding to arrest someone. Most officers have a mental checklist of things they need to see before they do a DUI arrest. For some officers, that can be as little as the odor of alcohol. Even if there was no bad driving or no obvious indicators of impairment, if the officer smells alcohol, he or she may believe that is enough for them to start a Baltimore DUI arrest. Now, whether that is true depends on what the court believes.

Myth: You Can’t Be Arrested For a DUI on Your Own Property

Verdict: False

This is not true at all. There have been numerous cases where individuals are arrested in their own driveway. It may be a situation where an individual drove to their home; an officer observed them driving home but didn’t catch up to them until they were in their driveway. It may be a situation where a car is parked in the driveway of someone having a party and the individual decides to sleep in their vehicle and ends up being charged with DUI.

Maryland employs the shelter doctrine that says a person can use their vehicle as shelter if they have no intention of putting the vehicle in motion and do not put the vehicle into motion. Once the vehicle is motion however, then the person is driving. Even if the person drives a short distance and parks, that can result in a Baltimore DUI conviction. However, the situation where the person never put the vehicle into motion and had no intention of putting the vehicle into motion would result in an acquittal of DUI.

Other False Myths About DUIs in Baltimore

The biggest myth about DUIs in Baltimore is that it makes sense to do the field sobriety tests. Doing field sobriety tests is never a good idea. When a person fails the field sobriety tests, which are tests that are essentially designed for an individual to fail, the officer will subsequently arrest them for suspicion of DUI.