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Busting a few common drunk driving myths

People often get in legal trouble simply because they listen to some of the most common drunk driving myths floating around today. This can lead to an unexpected arrest and very serious legal charges.

Remember, the fact that you heard misinformation at some point is not going to defend you from those charges. You need to know the law, understand your rights and know how to separate myth from fact.

To help, here are a few common myths to watch out for:

1. As long as you do not break a BAC of 0.08 percent, you will never get arrested.

While 0.08 percent is the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, do not assume that blowing a 0.07 percent means the police have no way to arrest you. If an officer believes your level of intoxication impacts your driving and makes you dangerous, you can get arrested, no matter what the breath test says. In fact, many officers do not even start off with a breath test. They'll make you take field sobriety tests first. If you fail those, that could be grounds to arrest you with a lower BAC.

2. Once you get out of the car, you can't get a DUI.

This is wrong. Police may know you were just driving a car, and you can still get arrested. For instance, maybe you parked at a gas station to refuel after a night of drinking. As you pump gas, an officer pulls up and starts talking to you. If he or she determines that you are intoxicated, you could still get arrested because the officer knows you just drove your car to the gas station.

3. You're always below the limit if you have just two drinks.

You might be. There are far too many factors for the so-called "two drink rule" to apply universally. How much alcohol was in those drinks? There is more in wine than beer and more in hard alcohol than wine. How big are you? Are you a man or a woman? How much did you have to eat? How quickly did you have those two drinks? These questions all impact how high your BAC climbs.

4. Passing the field tests means you definitely get to drive away.

Not always. You may pass those field sobriety tests, but an officer who thinks you are intoxicated may still give you a breath test or use other means to justify the arrest. Remember, as you take the test, the officer is looking for signs that you're drunk.

The reality is that DUI arrests can happen to people who think they'll never get arrested. The common myths don't hold up to scrutiny. If you do find yourself facing charges, make sure you know your legal defense options.

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