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Dispelling DUI Myths

Feb. 3, 2021

Man reaching for keys with glasses of alcohol in front of him while someone tries to stop himThe Pennsylvania State Police report making more than 20,000 arrests annually for driving under the influence (DUI). That does not even count the number arrested by other branches of law enforcement. As these people were pulled over, they were no doubt wondering what they should do. Submit to the field sobriety test or not? Blow or don’t blow? Answer the officer’s questions or stay silent?

If you have been charged with a DUI, you might be wondering what to do next. What you should not do is attempt to navigate the legal process on your own, or believe the myths you have heard about DUIs. A DUI is a serious charge that could permanently affect your life. It is vital that you have all of the facts.

At The Downey Firm, LLC, I defend clients charged with DUIs in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, as well as Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester counties. I am a tireless advocate for those whose lives could be altered by a DUI conviction.

DUI Charges in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania laws are tough on people driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substance. In fact, the prosecution needs no proof that you were impaired if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at least .08%. That percentage alone can result in a DUI conviction.

5 Common Myths & Facts About DUIs

1. A DUI charge in Pennsylvania isn’t worth fighting. Just take the hit and move on.

Bad idea. Any criminal charge is worth fighting, including a drunk driving charge. Even a first offense with a BAC of .08% can result in six months of probation, a $300 fine, an alcohol and drug evaluation, and community service. Penalties for second and third offenses, and for those with higher BAC levels are even greater. A good criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge the stop or prove tests were improperly conducted. Why have a criminal record if you don’t have to? Furthermore, if you really were not driving while impaired, why would you not fight a criminal charge?

2. I have to answer questions asked by law enforcement.

You should be polite and respectful to the officer who pulls you over, but you do not have to answer questions. In fact, because you will be nervous, it is better that you simply tell the officer that you will not answer any questions until you have spoken with your attorney. You are required to give the officer your name, license, and registration upon request.

3. You have to submit to a field sobriety test.

False. Pennsylvania law does not require motorists to submit to a field sobriety test, and there is no penalty for refusing to submit to one. These tests are unscientific and unreliable as evidence of impaired driving. Eye responses can be affected by flashing lights or headlights. Balance tests can be affected by uneven pavement or rough ground. Many people have difficulty saying the alphabet in reverse order even when completely sober. Moreover, if you take the field sobriety test and do not perform well, the officer will note it in the report, and that can work against you.

4. You do not have to submit to a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test.

Wrong. Any licensed driver in Pennsylvania is subject to “implied consent” to these tests if lawfully pulled over. Refusal results in immediate suspension of your license and may result in more severe punishments than those incurred had you taken the tests. Under certain circumstances, a good criminal defense attorney can challenge even these results.

5. You can’t be arrested for DUI unless you’re driving.

Yes, you can. The standard under Pennsylvania law is whether you had “actual physical control” of a vehicle. You could be arrested for DUI even if you were sitting in a vehicle without the engine running. Again, an experienced DUI defense attorney can challenge the circumstances under which you were arrested even though you were not actually driving.

DUI Defense Attorney Serving
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Believing it is wise to represent yourself is also a myth. Having a criminal record can have a negative effect on your entire life. Even after you have completed your punishment, the DUI conviction remains on your record and could mean losing out on jobs or promotions, causing financial stress, or straining personal relationships. A conviction can also affect things in your life such as custody of your children.

At The Downey Firm, LLC, I am dedicated to providing the best criminal defense for clients arrested for DUIs in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, as well as Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester counties.

I can help you fight your DUI. Call me today to get started.