A DUI arrest can happen to just about anyone. It can be overwhelming to deal with the police as an average person with no source of legal guidance on what you should (and shouldn’t) do. Take a look at the following myths and misconceptions about DUI stops, arrests, and convictions in the state of Georgia.
Myth #1: You can cheat the breathalyzer test
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot throw off a breath test by using gum, peppermint, mouthwash, or breath spray, or by sucking on a penny. In fact, some of these methods contain alcohol (like mouthwash) and can artificially inflate the results of your breathalyzer test. Police officers may also smell your minty breath and assume you are trying to cover up your alcohol intake.
Myth #2: Breathalyzer tests are completely accurate
Alcohol breath tests actually have a relatively large margin of error—particularly field breathalyzers. In addition to their lack of precision, the tests can commonly be thrown off by sources of error like radio interference, chemicals, asthma inhalers, and even diabetes (which causes acetone to appear in the breath, confusing the breath test machine).
Myth #3: You have to answer the officer’s questions
If you are pulled over, you only need to provide your license, registration, and insurance, as well as your name and current address. You may politely decline to answer any other questions and remain silent.
Myth #4: Roadside tests are mandatory
Police officers are trained to conduct certain roadside tests, or field sobriety evaluations, such as the eye-jerking test, the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg-stand. The results can vary because of factors like disability, cold weather, high heels, uneven ground, and many others. These exercises are completely optional, and due to their high error rate, you should decline to perform them in most situations.
Myth #5: It’s easier to plead guilty
It may seem easier in the short term to give up and plead guilty, but the long-term consequences can be devastating. Don’t assume that you will simply pay a fine and walk away. In addition to the criminal conviction (in some cases a felony), you could face community service and mandatory DUI programs, a license suspension that interferes with your livelihood, and jail time, depending on the severity of your offense. With the help of an effective lawyer, you could receive significantly lighter penalties—or no conviction at all.
Myth #6: A DUI on your record is not a big deal
A DUI conviction in Georgia stays on your record for life. As a criminal offense, it can jeopardize opportunities to obtain employment, housing, and much more. To make matters worse, once your car insurance provider learns about your conviction, your rates can double or even triple.
A DUI on your record is always a big deal, which is why it’s always worth fighting the charges with a competent lawyer by your side. Contact Savannah DUI today and protect yourself from life-changing DUI penalties. Our attorneys will go above and beyond to ensure you have the best possible defense.