Common myths about alcohol and driving

myths about alcohol and driving

Most people agree that drinking and driving is dangerous. Yet every year, more than 40,000 drivers in Pennsylvania are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at Kellis Law Firm represents people like you who have made a mistake and deserve a legal advocate to help them navigate the Pennsylvania justice system. Many of our clients have a lot of misconceptions about DUI laws. Today, we’re debunking some of the most common myths about alcohol and driving.

Top misconceptions about getting a DUI

You may be surprised about just how easy it is to get a DUI charge—even if you’re not driving. These are some misconceptions about DUI charges in PA.

Myth: You can only get a DUI if you are in the driver’s seat.

Fact: You don’t have to drive the vehicle actively to get charged with a DUI. If a police officer sees that you’re intoxicated and knows that you were recently driving (perhaps they saw you get out of the car), then they can legally charge you with a DUI.

Myth: You can only get a DUI charge if your BAC exceeds .08%.

Fact: Your BAC (blood alcohol content) measures the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. In Pennsylvania, the legal limit is 0.08%– in most cases. Some people may become too impaired to drive with a lower BAC and so may be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) since Pennsylvania law states that you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is 0.05% or higher and you show signs of impairment.

Not all drivers have a legal limit of 0.08%. If you’re a commercial driver operating a commercial vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Under Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance Policy for minors driving under the influence, if you’re under 21, you’ll be charged with a DUI with a BAC of just 0.02% or higher (usually one drink or less for most people).

Myth: I can’t get a DUI if I slept after drinking.

Fact: It takes your body about one hour to metabolize one drink. If you have multiple drinks and a brief nap, your BAC may still be over the legal limit. So, if you get behind the wheel thinking you “slept it off,” you could still get a DUI if there is still enough alcohol in your system.

Myth: You can only get a DUI with a positive breathalyzer test.

Fact: A breath test estimates someone’s BAC by measuring the chemical content of their breath. It’s possible to have a false positive with a breathalyzer. Your urine or blood may also be tested to calculate your BAC, and these tests are often more accurate.

Top myths about alcohol and intoxication

There are a lot of misconceptions about how your body processes alcohol. Many people may believe these myths and so may mistakenly believe that it’s safe for them to drive when it’s not.

Myth: You can drink coffee to sober up.

Fact: Only time can sober you up. The caffeine in coffee may perk you up, but it can’t make your body process alcohol faster. A cup of coffee will not make you sober enough to avoid a DUI charge.

Myth: Beer doesn’t get you as drunk as liquor.

Fact: Drinking liquor may get someone intoxicated faster than someone drinking beer, as the beer may be more filling than a mixed drink, causing someone to drink slower. However, in measuring alcohol, one 12-oz beer, one 5-oz glass of wine, and one and a half ounces of liquor all have about the same alcohol content.

Myth: I have a high tolerance, so it’s harder to get a DUI.

Fact: A high tolerance for alcohol only means that it takes more alcohol for you to feel the effects or show signs of intoxication. It doesn’t mean the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is low enough to evade a DUI charge. A high tolerance for alcohol can be more dangerous for someone, as they may not “feel drunk” and get behind the wheel with a BAC over the legal limit.

Have you been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania? We can help you.

At Kellis Law Firm, we believe that everyone makes mistakes and is entitled to a vigorous defense if those mistakes make someone run afoul of Pennsylvania DUI laws. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you should know that the repercussions may last far longer than your community service stint or cost more than just a fine.

A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from Kellis Law Firm can help mitigate the penalty for your DUI. Learn more about how our legal team can help you by calling (215) 977-4183 for a free consultation.