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Henrico County DUI Myths

Although it is a common criminal offense, there are many myths about DUIs and how a person can get around them. Unfortunately, many of these myths are not true, and people who believe them can end up in tough situations.

It is important to stay knowledgeable about the realities of a DUI and keep in mind how being charged with a DUI could affect a person’s life. If you, or someone you know, however, is facing a DUI, an experienced Henrico County DUI lawyer can help you through the process and work to give you the best options available.

MYTH: If you are positive your BAC is below 0.08, take the PBT to show the officer you are sober enough to drive


It is not usually in your best interest to take a preliminary breath test (PBT), if you have had anything at all to drink. The PBT is used to establish probable cause to arrest you, but if you decline to take the PBT, you cannot be charged with refusal. It is very hard to determine exactly what your blood alcohol level is, so you may feel perfectly sober, but still blow 0.08 or higher.

The PBT, however, is not admissible for purposes of a final testing score because it is not always reliable.

MYTH: Breathalyzers are reliable and a consistent indicator of blood alcohol content


The field test, the PBT, while accurate, is not reliable enough to be used toward guilt or innocence.

However, the Intoxilyzer, or the blood alcohol machine, used at the police station and/or the jail is extremely accurate. It is tested and monitored routinely routinely, and it is accurate.

MYTH: Officers cannot justify a DUI arrest unless you are really drunk


A Henrico County police officer can get probable cause for a DUI arrest simply on a minor traffic infraction if there is any indication of any sort of impairment.

Studies have shown that levels of impairment can differ from person to person. One individual can blow a 0.08 and not be able to complete any of the tests, while another person can blow a 0.08 and complete all the tests. The key issue is that, under Virginia Law, if you blow a 0.08 or higher, you are considered to be legally intoxicated.

MYTH: If I’m just slightly buzzed, it is hard for an officer to tell


If you are even slightly impaired, or what people refer to as buzzed, an officer will typically notice. The officers are trained, not only to do certain tests that gauge your coordination ability to communicate, but also to base their determination on visual signals such as how your eyes appear or how you smell. Even if you were slightly buzzed, the officers can find indicators of impairment, and you will then be arrested for DUI.

MYTH: I can be arrested for a DUI in Henrico County if I’m in my own garage or driveway


Unfortunately, you can be arrested while in your own driveway. Under Virginia Law, if your keys are in the ignition and the vehicle is in any way operational, meaning if the radio is on or if the lights are on, you are considered to be operating that vehicle, and you can therefore be charged with DUI.

The key issue is if the vehicle is operational, so if your keys are in the ignition, you are considered to be operating the vehicle even if it is in your driveway.

Other Common Myths About DUIs in Henrico County

Another myth is a person can claim that his or her blood alcohol level is wrong because of diabetes or some other factor. Those issues have been debunked by the Department of Forensic Science, which monitors the machine.

Another myth is that the machine can be beaten or the tests can be beaten. This is also incorrect. These tests have been designed and developed for years now with the sole purpose of determining if you are intoxicated.

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