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4 myths to avoid during traffic stops

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Driving While Intoxicated |

A traffic stop can suddenly turn into a drunk driving charge — and it can happen faster than most drivers realize.

That’s why drivers should be aware of the myths that exist about drunk driving if they want to protect themselves from harsh consequences. Here are a few myths to avoid: 

Myth #1: Pennies can help you pass breathalyzer tests

Truth: One of the oldest myths about drunk driving traffic stops is that if the police ask the driver to take a breath test, the driver should put a penny in their mouth. The belief is that the penny will help the driver pass the breath test. However, there is no evidence that this has ever worked. 

Myth #2: You must answer any questions from the police

Truth: The police will likely ask the driver several questions to help them gather evidence. The driver is under no obligation to answer these questions under the Fifth Amendment. The driver can plead the Fifth to avoid making any self-incriminating comments. 

Myth #3: The police can search your vehicle if they ask

Truth: The Fourth Amendment protects drivers from having their cars unreasonably searched. If the police ask to search a vehicle, they would likely need to have a warrant or make a lawful arrest before searching a vehicle. The driver could also give the police permission to search the car. However, any incriminating evidence that is in plain view of the police may be used as evidence, such as open bottles or empties.

Myth #4: It is safe to drive below the legal limit

Truth: The legal driving limit in Massachusetts is 0.8%. That does not always make it safe to drive if a driver is below the limit. Alcohol affects everyone differently, and the driver may violate traffic laws because of the alcohol they’ve consumed. 

If you are facing criminal charges for drunk driving, then it can help to reach out for legal help to learn about your defense options.