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DUI Myths in Montgomery County

As a major community that hosts many suburbs of Washington, DC, Montgomery County’s police officers are extra vigilant with respect to DUIs. Local law enforcement are cognizant that driving under the influence is a problem and they do their utmost to prevent such cases. Due to the diligence afforded by local law enforcement to DUI enforcement, it is vital that individuals educate themselves on some popular and widespread myths about DUI arrests. If you have been arrested and/or charged with driving under the influence, call and schedule a consultation with a Montgomery County DUI lawyer immediately to begin crafting your defense.

Reliability of Blood Alcohol Content and Alcohol Impairment Tests

Different individuals will handle different amounts of alcohol differently. Someone who has never had a drink before may feel extremely intoxicated for a .08. For other individuals, for example people who drink regularly, .08 may not have any detectable signs of impairment. An individual’s physiology and history of alcohol use will have a significant impact on how impaired they are for a given blood alcohol content.

Accuracy of Portable Breath Tests

It makes no sense to blow in a portable breath test. A portable breath test is not accurate. They are not calibrated in the same way that the breathalyzers at the police station are. There is no penalty for refusing to do a portable breath test (PBT). The officer can’t suspend your license or do anything else to you other than arrest you. In most cases, they arrest an individual whether or not they have positive results in a PBT. There have seen cases where an individual blows below .08 in a PBT, and they are still arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Accuracy of Breathalyzers

There is something called a partition ratio that is the ratio between exhaled alcohol and blood alcohol; it can vary from individual to individual. Your size, your gender, how much food you ate recently, or any kind of medical condition can all affect the partition ratio. However, the breathalyzer machines all apply the exact same partition ratio to everyone who blows into the machine. That is like saying that an 85-pound woman who is 90 years old is going to have the same physiological response to alcohol as a 20-year-old, 250-pound male. It just doesn’t make any sense, even on the surface. The fact that the machines use the same partition ratio for everybody makes them inherently unreliable and untrustworthy.

Officers Require Proof of Impairment to Arrest

Officers seek to justify the DUI arrest on the flimsiest of evidence. There have seen cases where an individual is pulled over for an equipment violation of broken headlights, then potentially passed all the field sobriety tests and only had a faint odor of alcohol but the officer still arrested them. Some officers will be honest and say, “I should let this individual go as they don’t show very much evidence of impairment.” Other officers are going to be concerned with their numbers. They are going to want to bring in as many DUI arrests as they can. Arresting the innocent is an excellent way to up their numbers.

The officer will use whatever evidence they can. That can be the odor of alcohol, even if you are not impaired at all. Field sobriety tests are really designed to be failed. Even if you are completely sober, it is difficult to pass the field sobriety test. Officers will use whatever they have at their disposal to justify the arrest for DUI. Your level of actual impairment really doesn’t play much of a part in it.

Possibility of Getting a DUI While In Own Driveway or Garage

Numerous people have been arrested in their own garages and driveways as a result of a DUI. That could be based on some kind of driving behavior prior to pulling into the garage or driveway. There are also people found sleeping in their driveway who are subsequently arrested under the theory that they drove their vehicle to that location. Just making it into a garage or driveway does not automatically exclude the possibility of subsequent arrest for a DUI.

Other Myths

Some people say that it is a good idea to do a field sobriety test in Montgomery County. That is a terrible idea. Field sobriety tests are totally voluntary. They are designed for someone to fail and there is no benefit to doing them. The only penalty for refusing them is that an officer will subsequently arrest you, which they were probably going to do even before they asked you to do the field sobriety test.