Some of the Most Common Arizona DUI Myths

dui mythsWhile most Arizona residents and visitors know that the state has some of the harshest DUI penalties in the US, numerous misconceptions and myths about driving under the influence still seem to be quite prominent.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time offender with a clean record or a person who has committed multiple DUIs. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have life-changing consequences. Here are a few other common myths you need to stop believing in right now.

You Have to Be Driving Erratically to Get Pulled Over

Erratic driving is a sign of impairment but it’s not the only one that police officers are looking for.

You can get pulled over for various other reasons – speeding, driving way too slow, you didn’t turn on headlights, you have a broken light, etc. Once you’re pulled over, the police officer will examine your behavior during the interaction. These observations are also very important because they could provide indications of impairment.

Keep in mind that Arizona also has legal DUI checkpoints. When these are organized, police officers don’t need a reason to pull you over. At checkpoints, there will be a system (for example, pulling every fourth car over). If you fall within the algorithm, you’ll have to go through with the inspection.

You Have to Do Everything the Police Officer Tells You to

Most people believe that cooperating with law enforcement professionals is the way to go if you want to get out of a difficult situation.

While cooperating is definitely a good idea, you also need to have at least some idea of your rights.

You are required to show your documents and to step out of the vehicle if you’re asked to. If you’re asked to do a field sobriety test, however, you have the right to refuse without facing any consequences.

You Can’t Go to Jail for a First-Time DUI

As already mentioned, Arizona has really harsh DUI penalties. This means that under specific circumstances, even first-time offenders can end up in jail for a certain amount of time.

Jail time, however, isn’t the only consequences. You will lose your license for a specific period of time, an ignition interlock device (IID) may be installed in your car, there will be fines and potentially – drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

You Can Drink and Drive if Your BAC Is Below the Legal Limit in Arizona

The legal BAC in Arizona is 0.08 percent. This number confuses some people, making them believe they cannot get a DUI with a BAC of 0.07 or lower.

There’s a legal term known as impaired to the slightest degree. It applies to people who are impaired but whose BAC does not reach 0.08 percent. Keep in mind that for drivers under the age of 21, there’s a zero tolerance policy in Arizona.

You can find out more about the BAC limit and underage drunk driving in A.R.S. 28-1381.

A Beer or Two Will Not Increase Your BAC Enough

Don’t count on this common myth!

The manner in which your body processes alcohol depends on many things – your weight, age, gender, whether you’ve eaten anything and the amount of time you needed to consume the alcohol.

Thus, if you gulped down two beers one after the other and you haven’t had a meal in some time, chances are that your BAC will increase sufficiently (especially if you’re a lighter person). The best thing to do is to refrain from drinking altogether if you know that you’ll be driving.

People Who Have a Medical Marijuana Card Cannot Get a DUI

They absolutely can!

Just because you have the right to use medicinal cannabis doesn’t mean you should be doing so before getting in the car.

Marijuana does cause impairment, which means you’re endangering yourself and others on the road.

To learn more about the use of medical marijuana and driving, please go through the provisions in A.R.S. 28-1381.

Click here for information on how to fight a DUI in Arizona.