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4 mistakes to avoid during a DUI traffic stop

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2023 | Drunk Driving

At some point, while driving, you may be pulled over by the police under suspicion of drunk driving. 

This can be extremely frustrating and cause you a lot of anxiety. As such, it’s possible you’ll make a mistake that causes a DUI charge. Here’s what you should avoid if you’re in a traffic stop:

1. Admitting you were drinking

Possibly the worst thing you can do during a traffic stop is admitting that you were drinking. Many people wrongly assume that, by admitting they drank only a little, the police will let them go with a warning. In many cases, admitting you were drinking (no matter how little) leads to DUI charges.

2. Performing a field sobriety test

During a traffic stop, the police may ask you to take standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). These tests are judged by the police but have no objective results. In some cases, a disability may lead to a false conclusion. However, you do have a right to refuse SFSTs without incurring penalties.

3. Refusing a chemical test

Alternatively, you may be asked to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. It’s often misconstrued that people can refuse chemical tests, such as breath tests. In many cases, refusal of a chemical test can result in license suspension, fines and incarceration. 

4. Using mouthwash or breath mints before a breath test

If you are asked to take a chemical test, there is one thing you should consider avoiding: mouthwash. Mouthwash, breath freshener and mints may contain traces of alcohol that can be picked up on a breath test. As a result, a breath test may measure a higher blood alcohol concentration than what’s actually in your body. Furthermore, it’s believed that a penny stuck in your mouth can trick a breath test. However, there’s no evidence that this works.

Criminal charges can cause lasting damage to your permanent record. You may need to know your legal rights if you’re looking to battle a DUI charge.