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Five Common Myths About Drunk Driving Tests

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense. Law enforcement officers and prosecuting attorneys in the Reno area work hard to keep residents and visitors safe from the potential dangers created by intoxicated drivers. One of the primary tools by law enforcement officers to ascertain whether or not a driver has been driving under the influence, is a set of standardized field sobriety tests. Additional tools consist of blood tests, breathalyzer tests and urine tests. Unfortunately for drivers, there are numerous myths and stories circulating around about these various tests that could cause confusion and lead to a person being placed under arrest. It is important to educate yourself about the laws that pertain to drunk driving tests and driving under the influence. Here is some key information to help debunk 5 of the most common myths about drunk driving tests:

#1: I cannot be arrested for DUI if I am not over the legal limit of 0.08%.

In the state of Nevada, a police officer can place a driver under arrest for DUI if he or she believes the driver to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that even if you blow less than a 0.08% on a breathalyzer test, you could still be facing charges for DUI if the arresting officer considers that you are under the influence and thus a danger to yourself or others.

#2: I have the legal right to refuse to take blood, breath or urine tests after being arrested for a suspected DUI.

You do not have this right, as Nevada has an "implied consent" law. This means that as soon as you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you have given your consent to take a breathalyzer test regardless of whether or not you have been placed under arrest. You are also consenting to submit to blood, breath or urine testing if you are arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe you have been operating your vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A refusal to submit to testing in either instance will result in your immediate arrest and the officer can use a reasonable amount of force to get the tests administered. The fact that you refused testing can also be used against you in court.

#3: If I fail a drunk driving test I will be convicted of DUI.

This particular myth could not be further from the truth. Failing a field sobriety test, breath test, blood test or other drunk driving test will not guarantee a conviction. There are many reasons an individual might test positive for drugs or alcohol in his or her system. I have completed the same DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing programs that officer are required to go through under a certified NHTSA instructor. Due to my training and experience, I am very effective at cross-examining officers on both their administration of drunk driving tests and their process for determining if a driver is under the influence.

#4: I have the right to speak with an attorney prior to an officer conducting any sort of field sobriety or other drunk driving tests.

You do have the constitutional right to remain silent during question. You also have the right to speak with an attorney after you have been arrested and before you agree to answer any questions. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you do not have the chance to consult with an attorney prior to answering the officer's questions. I generally advise clients to only answer those questions that will help the officer establish your identity. I do not advise volunteering any information and never admit any guilt or wrongdoing. Simply take the tests, remain respectful, and, if the officer places you under arrest, contact my firm prior to answering any further questions.

#5: My driver's license will only be revoked if I am convicted of DUI.

If you are arrested for a suspected DUI and your blood or breath tests show a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, the DMV will be informed and your license will be automatically revoked for a minimum of 90 days. Even in cases where you are acquitted of the charges against you, your license revocation may remain in force. You will not be eligible to receive a restricted driver's license until at least half of the 90 day revocation period has been served. You need to take action with the DMV separately to get your driver's license reinstated after an acquittal or dismissal of charges.

If you have been arrested or charged with DUI in Reno, the best chance you have of getting the charges against you reduced, dismissed or to be acquitted is to have an aggressive Reno DUI attorney advocating on your behalf. For years my firm and I have been defending the rights of individuals who have been accused of DUI. I understand how frightening it can be to get pulled over by a police officer for a suspected DUI, subjected to field sobriety tests and then placed under arrest. Whether you had been drinking, and may have been under the influence at the time of the arrest, it is never advised to "accept your fate" and plead guilty. A highly-trained DUI attorney may be able to help you fight the charges you face and avoid conviction by finding the discrepancies, inaccuracies and holes in the prosecution's case. To get legal assistance to help fight your DUI charges, contact The Law Office of Walter B. Fey at once.