Dispelling DUI Myths
April 12, 2023
There is very little tolerance these days for people operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Law enforcement is vigilant about stopping drivers who they believe to be impaired. As a result, many people have found themselves charged with DUI.
The prevalence of DUI arrests in Kentucky leads to a lot of people believing they know a lot about DUIs. If you are arrested, you can count on well-meaning internet articles to answer your questions or offer a wealth of unsolicited advice. What you cannot count on is for that information to be accurate. It is vital that you get the facts about DUI charges in Kentucky if you are arrested. You need to be working with facts when you are faced with making critical decisions that will affect your life for the foreseeable future.
At Evan Taylor Law Office PSC, we are committed to educating our clients and helping them move forward. We are proud to serve individuals in Owensboro, Henderson, Hancock County, McLean County, or Ohio County, Kentucky. Set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorney today.
What Are the Basic Facts About DUI Charges in Kentucky?
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for Kentucky drivers is less than .08%. For those under age 21, the limit is less than .02%, and it’s less than .04% for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
If your BAC is measured at or above the limit within two hours of being stopped, you will be charged with a DUI per se. That means you are presumed to be impaired, even if you may not appear to be so.
You can be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. There are different tolerance levels for certain illegal drugs in your bloodstream, such as methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin. However, you can be found guilty of driving while impaired while taking medications as prescribed if they affect your ability to control your vehicle.
Contrary to popular belief, any DUI is serious. You can face jail time, fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. How long and how much will depend on whether it is your first or subsequent offense and whether there are any aggravating circumstances, such as causing an accident, having minors in the vehicle, driving at excessive speeds, or driving with a significantly high BAC.
If you have been charged with DUI, reach out to our office for guidance. In the meantime, here are just a few of the myths surrounding DUIs.
Myth: A DUI charge isn’t worth fighting.
It’s a common myth that a drunk driving charge isn’t worth fighting. Because DUI charges are so common, many people think they should just take their punishment and get it over with. We have to wonder why people arrested for DUI are willing to just accept having a criminal record. If you work in law enforcement, education, or government, if you have a professional license or certification, or if you drive a company car or commercial motor vehicles, you will probably lose your job.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to challenge the stop, the test results, or prove that you were not impaired. Remember, a DUI is not a traffic citation. Driving under the influence is a crime.
Myth: You have to submit to a field sobriety test.
Not only is it a myth that you are required to submit to a field sobriety test at the request of law enforcement, it is recommended that you politely refuse to take one. Field sobriety tests are famously inaccurate. Uneven surfaces, blinding lights, adrenaline, and anxiety can make it appear that you are impaired, even if you are not. You should respectfully refuse to take any field sobriety test.
Myth: When arrested for DUI, I don’t have to submit to a test of my blood or urine.
Unlike field sobriety tests, Kentucky law does require you to submit to a test of your blood or urine if the stop by law enforcement was justified. Anyone who operates a vehicle in the state gives implied consent to take a blood or urine test. There are strict procedures for test administration and testing equipment must be specifically maintained and calibrated.
A refusal of these tests may result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license. Even if you aren’t subsequently convicted of DUI, you may be penalized for refusing the test as a separate offense. The fact that you refused can be used as evidence that you were under the influence. The refusal alone can result in jail time, fines, and license suspension.
Myth: When I’m stopped, I have to answer all the questions the officer asks me.
You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent when questioned about a crime. You should uphold that right.
The law enforcement officer will ask questions about where you have been, where you are going, and whether you have been drinking or taking prescribed or illicit drugs. You are under no obligation to answer any questions, other than providing your name and proffering your driver’s license and proof of insurance upon request. You should politely advise the officer that you will not answer any other questions without your lawyer present.
Myth: You have to be actually driving to be arrested for DUI.
The standard under Kentucky law is not driving, but “in control of” the vehicle to be arrested for DUI. This means you can be sleeping in the vehicle or pulled over to the side of the road with the engine off and still possibly be arrested. If you have the car keys on your person, this could indicate “control.”
Guidance Backed by Experience
At Evan Taylor Law Office PSC, we understand that you can get overwhelmed if you are stopped for driving under the influence. It is easy to forget the facts and rely on the myths you’ve heard over and over again. Don’t do it. Get experienced legal guidance from us. If you have been arrested for DUI, call our attorney in Owensboro, Kentucky, as soon as possible.