DUI Myths in Richmond

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or DWI in Richmond, Virginia, you are likely curious about the legal and DUI arrest procedures. Unfortunately, many people hear conflicting information about how DUI cases work in Richmond or Virginia. It is important to have a good grasp of the charges you face and the strength of the case against you. Below, we discuss some of the common myths we have heard and whether there is any truth to these beliefs. If you have any questions regarding DUIs in Richmond, schedule a free consultation with a Richmond DUI lawyer today.

Myth: If You Are Sure Your BAC is Under .08 It Makes Sense to Take a Preliminary Breath Test

Verdict: False

If you have had anything to drink at all it is typically not in your best interest to take the PBT due to the fact that it is so difficult for you to actually tell how sober you are. Even if you ace all the field sobriety tests (which are optional just like the PBT) you could still blow a 0.08. Preliminary breath tests are not always accurate which is why they’re not used in court for guilt or innocence. They’re used strictly to determine if the officer has probable cause to arrest you, and as a result there is really no good reason to agree to take a PBT

Myth: Officers Cannot Tell If I Am Just a Little Buzzed

Verdict: False

If you are even slightly buzzed, an officer will be able to tell.  Law enforcement officers are thoroughly trained in how to spot impairment and/or intoxication through the use of indicators like your speech, coordination, and appearance of your eyes.  This is in addition to more obvious signs such as the smell of alcohol on your breath or your person that help an officer identify whether or not someone is intoxicated.

Myth: You Cannot Be Arrested If You Are In Your Driveway or Garage

Verdict: False

You can absolutely be charged with DUI even if you are just parked in your own driveway or garage. If your keys are in the ignition and the vehicle is operational in any way, even if the engine is off, the Supreme Court has ruled that you can be charged with DUI.  Operation of the vehicle can merely be having your lights or radio on while parked.

Myth: If You Refuse To Take a BAC You Cannot Be Convicted


One of the most common myths it that if you refuse to take a BAC test then you cannot be convicted, however this is untrue. Although the BAC test can be used as evidence against you, law enforcement can still use other evidence such as poor driving, poor performance on your tests, or you general behavior and appearance during the stop to get a DUI conviction. Refusing a BAC may make getting a conviction more difficult but it does not mean you can’t be convicted.

Myth: Office Cannot Justify An Arrest Unless You Are Really Drunk

Verdict: False

Officers can institute and/or justify a DUI arrest whether you appear very drunk or not. To fail field tests administered by the officer’s you do not need to be falling over drunk.  Officers need only show that you could not complete the tests to their satisfaction and/or that you could not follow their instructions or communicate properly.  In addition, a 0.08 does not necessarily mean that you are falling down drunk, but it does mean that you are impaired and that your ability to drive a vehicle may be impaired.

Other Common Myths

Some of the biggest myths we see in the city of Richmond are individuals who think they can beat the test on the machine by not blowing in properly or trying to burp prior to taking the test. Should you try and do any of this, the officers have the right to charge you with refusal as well, and of course, the machine is very precise. It’s very sensitive so it can typically determine and read out any sort of attempts to alter a final reading.

Our Approach to DUI Cases in Richmond, Virginia