In Indiana’s criminal justice system, laws around drunk driving are constantly changing. Below are a few DUI myths that we’d like to debunk ASAP before you go and do something stupid:
1.”I’m good to drive as long as my blood alcohol level is under .08%.”
Wrong. Depending on the circumstances, a person can be taken to criminal court even if they pass a field sobriety or breathalyzer test. For example, according to the current criminal justice system, you can be charged with a lower BAC if you were driving too erratically or if the officer has reason to believe other illegal drugs were impairing your ability to drive.
2. “The first DUI isn’t that big of a deal.”
Again, wrong. Apart from risking everyone else’s life on the road, you’re also risking your license and your wallet. You better get yourself a good DUI lawyer even on your first arrest, because this is going to cost you a minimum of $400 and your license could be suspended indefinitely due to recent changes in Indiana’s criminal justice system.
3. “If I’m caught underage drinking I’ll just get a slap on the wrist.”
If you believe this then clearly you haven’t been watching enough Degrassi. If you’re a minor, you can be charged just for having alcohol in your car. Furthermore, the .08% BAC rule does not apply to you — any amount of alcohol found in your system whatsoever could be grounds for an arrest. Depending on the severity of the offense, this could stay on your permanent record for years.
4. “These sorts of things only stay on your record for a couple of years.”
Much like traffic tickets, DUIs can haunt you for many years down the road. Indiana has particularly strict prior look-back laws. This means that to assess prior arrests, Indiana’s system will look back five to 10 years to see if any other similar arrests count against you. If this is your third conviction, then this look-back period extends over your entire lifetime.
Basically what we are saying is, don’t do anything you’re going to regret. Stay safe, stay sober, and stay out of trouble.