Driving under the influence of alcohol is a common criminal charge, but it is also the subject of many misconceptions.
Some of these false beliefs can lead to legal consequences for unsuspecting drivers.
You have to be driving to get a DUI
If you have spent a long night drinking at a bar or club, sleeping it off in your car is a more responsible choice than driving home. Unfortunately, you could still be in trouble if a police officer takes notice.
Pennsylvania law states that you can not be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle while drunk. Because this phrasing is open to interpretation, a police officer could arrest you for DUI even if you are sitting in a parked car with the keys in your pocket.
You have to submit to a field sobriety test
When you get behind the wheel, the law assumes that you consent to a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. However, this implied consent policy does not apply to field sobriety tests. You can refuse to perform the field sobriety test or answer the officer’s questions.
Your BAC determines the outcome of your case
Blood alcohol concentration is a compelling piece of evidence, but it does not guarantee a particular outcome. Breath and blood tests can fail due to faulty equipment or operator error. If test results show a BAC above .08%, you might still be able to fight the charges.
On the other hand, even if your BAC is below .08%, you can still face a DUI charge if the officer believes you have consumed enough alcohol to affect your driving.
A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, so it is important to know the facts and avoid misinformation.