From the yeti to the “faked” moon landing, there are many strange things that people are willing to believe these days. But while believing in Santa or the Loch Ness monster might get you laughed at, it won’t get you into trouble. Believing falsehoods about drunk driving and DUIs in Michigan, however, can mean a world of pain. So let’s take a minute to look at a few of those “alternative facts” you thought were real, and debunk them. You’ll thank us later.
Myth: If your BAC is lower than .08 you can’t be charged with drunk driving.
Truth: Oh yes you can!
According to Michigan law, a person can be arrested for ‘impaired driving’ regardless of their BAC. In other words, if your blood alcohol count is .06 but you’re swerving in your lane, or slowing and speeding erratically, a police officer can still pull you over. And as the Michigan State Police website puts it: drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if they exhibit signs of impairment while operating a motor vehicle. So there goes that theory.
Myth: Lying to the police about drinking is better than admitting you’re drunk
Truth: Not unless you want to risk additional charges
When an officer pulls you over for suspected drunk driving, and then asks you if you’ve had a few too many this evening, he’s not going to take your word for it. Saying ‘no’ to the question about whether or not you’ve consumed any alcohol isn’t going to make him tip his hat, get back in his cruiser, and drive away. If an officer suspects you’re under the influence, they will likely administer roadside sobriety tests and insist that you submit to a roadside preliminary breath test (PBT).
It’s important to note that you cannot be forced to take the roadside field sobriety tests. However, refusing the breath test is likely to cost you a one year suspension of your driver’s license. Anway, your lies can easily be proven incorrect. So lying serves no purpose other than to make you look bad and increase the chances that you could also be slapped with an obstruction of justice charge. It is against the law to lie to the police, or conceal facts from an officer who is investigating a crime. Driving drunk is a crime. So lying about your alcohol consumption is actually illegal. On the other hand, refusing to answer any questions is perfectly legal and perfectly smart.
Myth: Sucking on a penny helps you pass the breath test
Truth: Nope, but it can expose you to a wide variety of of bacteria and other disgusting things
Money is dirty, so putting it in your mouth is always a bad idea. Unless of course you’re desperate, and the payoff seems worth the risk. In this case however, there is no pay off. The old urban legend claims that the copper in a penny will confuse the breath test. However this has no basis in fact. Also, pennies are mostly made from zinc nowadays, so even if this myth was true (which it isn’t) it wouldn’t even apply any more.
Myth: Breath mints and mouthwash can fool a breathalyzer
Truth: Not a chance! They don’t even fool cops anymore.
Contrary to their name, PBT and DataMasters don’t actually measure the freshness of your breath. They don’t “smell” anything, so while lovely fresh breath might make talking to you a more pleasant prospect for the arresting officer, it won’t fool the breath test. Michigan’s PBT and DataMaster machines measure the evaporated alcohol molecules in your exhaled breath, which has nothing to do with the way your mouth smells. In fact, rinsing with mouthwash before driving may make your BAC even higher, as many mouthwash formulas contain alcohol.
Join us next time as we wrap up this list of myths and legends that people believe about drinking and driving. Until then, it’s important to remember that the best way to avoid a drinking and driving arrest if to not drink and drive. Failing that however, if you’ve made a mistake or misjudged your own capacity, the next best option is to get yourself the best drunk driving defense attorney you can afford. That’s where we come in. Call The Kronzek Firm at 1 866 766 5245 and let us help you through this difficult situation. We’ve done this hundreds of times before.