The Top 5 DUI Myths

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For an offence as serious as DUI (drink driving), it is concerning just how many myths and rumours exist. It seems that almost every driver is confused about some part or another of the DUI or random breath test process. Unfortunately this means that too many people are being caught and charged with DUI offences simply because they didn’t understand the DUI laws.
In this article, we look at the top 5 most common DUI myths so that you never find yourself before the courts for a DUI offence.

 

1. You Can’t be Charged with DUI on Private Property

 

There is a popular idea that a person cannot be charged with a drink driving offence while they’re on private property. Unfortunately this is a big myth which leads to many drivers unknowingly committing a drink driving offence by mistake.

As we explained in an earlier article, the law says that a person can be charged with a DUI offence if they are driving on a road or elsewhere. There is therefore nothing that restricts DUI offences to private properties or roads.

This means that you can be charged with DUI even if you are drink driving in your own backyard. You should therefore be extremely careful when deciding whether to drive after a few drinks, no matter where you are.

 

2. You Can Refuse a Random Breath Test

 

This is another common myth surrounding DUI offences. For one reason or another, many drivers assume that they can refuse to participate in a random breath test. While some might be hoping that they will be able to get out of a DUI charge, many would just be exercising what they believe is their genuine right to refuse.

In fact, the law specifically says that it is an offence to refuse to participate in a properly-conducted random breath test. This means that if a police officer has correctly asked you to provide a sample of breath for the purposes of a breath test, you have to comply.

If you refuse to participate in a random breath test, you will be charged with the offence of “failing to provide a sample”. You can be charged with this offence either at the roadside for a preliminary test or at a police station if you have been taken away for a formal breath analysis test. If you fail to comply with both of these tests, you can be charged twice.

The penalties for refusing a breath test are severe and you will face similar penalties to actual drink driving offences, including lengthy disqualification periods and substantial fines.

The lesson here is simple: if you refuse a random breath test, be aware that you will still be charged with a DUI-related offence.

 

3. You Can Only Be Charged with DUI If Caught Driving

 

There are two reasons why this idea is an absolute myth.

Firstly, the police can require you to participate in a random breath test if they have a reasonable suspicion that you have been driving at anytime within the last 3 hours. Therefore even if the police didn’t actually see you driving, they can still require you to provide a breath sample for a test. If the breath test is positive, you will be charged with DUI.

The second reason why this is a myth is that you can be charged with a DUI offence even if you did not actually drive any vehicles. There is a DUI offence (often called the “in charge” offence) which says that you can be charged with a drink driving offence if you were in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit. It is irrelevant whether you actually intended to drive the vehicle or not.

These type of DUI offences are treated almost the same as actual drink driving offences and therefore it is extremely important that you never put yourself in this position. If you think you might be over the limit, you should either give the car keys to someone else (which makes it clear you are not in charge of the vehicle) or just stay away from cars completely.

 

4. You Can Only Be Charged With Drink Driving Motor Vehicles

 

Despite what many people think, DUI offences are not limited to just cars and motorbikes. You can be charged with drink driving (or drink ‘riding’) almost anything that moves. Just like in the video above, for example, Queensland has laws that say it’s an offence to drink ride a horse.

There are many other cases where people have been charged with unusual DUI offences:

Although these stories might seem funny, it is important to remember that an intoxicated person can be a risk to themselves or others, no matter what mode of transport they are using.

If you need to go somewhere but you’ve had too much to drink, your safest option is to arrange for someone sober to drive you, whether that be a taxi, friend or family member.

 

5. You Are Safe if you Follow the Recommended Guidelines

You have probably heard that drivers are able to avoid DUI offences if they follow the recommended guidelines:
  • Men can consume two standard drinks in the first hour and one drink each following hour;
  • Women can only consume one standard drink in the first hour and then one each following hour.

As admirable as these guidelines may be, they often end up causing more harm than good. They cannot take into account many other factors which can impact a person’s alcohol reading, such as their age; weight; fitness level; and whether they have been eating and drinking beforehand.

As a result, many drivers think that they are doing the right thing by following these guidelines but then find themselves being charged with DUI.

For this reason, our advice is much stronger then the guidelines: if you have been drinking, avoid driving altogether. The risk of being caught is simply too high and the consequences too severe. There are plenty of other transport options available if it’s too far to walk.

 

Have You Been Charged with DUI?

 

If you have already been charged with DUI, you need to make sure that you protect yourself as you go through the criminal justice system. At Harper Finch Lawyers, we know how to make sure you get the best outcome possible while reducing any stress you might be experiencing. Contact Brisbane’s expert DUI lawyers now for an obligation free discussion about your case.

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