9 Great DUI Myths about DWI-DUI-OWI Cases
Written by: Atlanta DUI Lawyer, William C. “Bubba” Head – ©2016. All Rights reserved.
If stopped for a routine traffic violation, such as speeding, and (after receiving your ticket) ASKED by the officer for YOUR PERMISSION to SEARCH your Vehicle, politely say “NO, I need to be on my way.” No matter whether you have anything to hide or not, this is an ILLEGAL search, because no basis exists to believe that you have anything illegal in your vehicle. Once you say YES, you will not have a basis to complain later, since you gave permission. Just SAY NO. Here are the 9 biggest DUI myths.
Myth No. 1: I have to answer questions. NO, you don’t. You are only required to provide necessary documents (license, registration, insurance) PLUS your NAME and CURRENT ADDRESS. If asked more questions, politely decline to answer. If pressed further, say “I don’t see what that has to do with whether I committed a traffic violation,” and REMAIN SILENT.
Myth No. 2: The roadside tests that I have seen officers give to DUI suspects on television programs are MANDATORY TESTS, and I will lose my driver’s license if I do not attempt to do these field sobriety tests. Even though the officer will make it SOUND LIKE these tests are MANDATORY, NONE ARE REQUIRED TO BE ATTEMPTED, AND YOU NEVER SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN THESE EVALUATIONS. Roadside exercises offered by an officer, “to make sure that you are safe to drive,” are VOLUNTARY AND OPTIONAL.
Your REFUSAL TO TRY TO DO THESE EVALUATIONS will NOT cause driver’s license suspension, or revocation of your driving privileges.
If you attempt to perform these subjectively-graded exercises, THIS POLICE VIDEO EVIDENCE or testimony about you “failing” these tests WILL be used against you as alleged evidence of IMPAIRMENT. These ROADSIDE TESTS are NOT SCIENTIFIC and have a very high ERROR RATE, according to scientists who have studied these evaluations. If you ever hear a so-called DUI lawyer or criminal defense attorney tell you to TRY to do the sobriety tests, RUN AWAY.
Myth No. 3: I can’t be arrested UNLESS I AM DRUNK. That is NOT true in ANY state in America. Laws have been written BROADLY to allow conviction of anyone who has BEEN AFFECTED by ALCOHOL or ANY OTHER IMPAIRING SUBSTANCE to the degree that your MENTAL or PHYSICAL faculties (or BOTH) are not as sharp as when you had no alcohol or other impairing substances. American law enforcement will generally arrest you after smelling alcohol, regardless of your BAC level or visible signs of being intoxicated.
Myth No. 4: I must be DRIVING before I can be arrested for DUI. NOT TRUE, in virtually EVERY jurisdiction in the USA, you can and will be arrested if you are INSIDE a motor vehicle — even a parked vehicle with the engine OFF — and you have ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONTROL of a motor vehicle. So, if you have the KEY to THAT vehicle, even if the CAR is not running, YOU CAN BE ARRESTED FOR DUI. This can even happen in most states when you are on private property, such as a restaurant parking lot, or EVEN IN YOUR OWN DRIVEWAY. Contact a top local criminal defense attorney if you get arrested, but speak to NO ONE ELSE, except a DUI attorney representing you.
Myth No. 5: If the officer arrests me for DUI, I simply will not take the DUI breath test, and that will prevent me being charged with a DUI. Absolutely FALSE. In every state, officers who gather sufficient evidence of your impairment (from any substance) can make an arrest for “impaired driving”. In addition, officers in MOST states are authorized to seek a judicial warrant to FORCIBLY DRAW YOUR BLOOD or obtain urine by way of a catheter, if you REFUSE the official test. In seeking the warrant, an officer will utilize your REFUSAL to be tested voluntarily, or to be tested under the implied consent laws, as part of the factual basis to collect this important evidence. If you RESIST this effort, you may also be charged with OBSTRUCTION of a police officer, or possibly FELONY ASSAULT on a police officer, depending on the level of resistance.
Myth No. 6: If stopped and suspected of DUI, I will just tell the officer that I am not doing or saying anything until I speak to my criminal defense lawyer, and that announcement will protect me from being charged with DUI. NO it will not, and no police officer in America will let you take off the cuffs and call your attorney from the back seat of the patrol car before he or she has finished processing you into jail. In the few states (such as NC and MN) that DO permit a DUI suspect to make a call to legal counsel BEFORE deciding whether to submit to the official test under IMPLIED CONSENT or INFORMED CONSENT law in that State. Whether you call or not will not prevent you from being accused of DUI.
IN addition, your REFUSAL to say YES to the official test, after being arrested, CAN CAUSE TOTAL LOSS OF ALL DRIVING PRIVILEGES for up to ONE YEAR OR MORE.
Myth No. 7: By putting something in my mouth, such as a penny, a peppermint or gum, or possibly swigging some mouthwash that contains alcohol, I can throw off the officer’s suspicion that I am impaired by alcohol. No, it will not deter the officer from arresting you, but this “fact” will be part of the officer’s report saying that this tactic is routinely used by drunk drivers to try to fool a police officer. All of the same guidelines as stated above apply – be polite, be silent and only give your name and current address. As soon as you are allowed to do so, call a criminal attorney who practices in your local court, and specializes in DUI-DWI-OWI.
Myth No. 8: If I am stopped, and the officer smells alcohol or drugs, I can talk my way out of being arrested. NOT TODAY. Any begging, name-dropping or attempts to use your job status, or “connections” will be captured on VIDEO and will be argued to a judge or jury as being “a pathetic attempt of this dangerous driver to be given special treatment and not be held accountable for his/her drunken driving.” Being SILENT and SUBMISSIVE to the officer’s commands (like, “put your hands behind your back”) — but still NOT doing or attempting the things I have outlined for you to NOT DO in this presentation, probably gives you the very best chance for a dismissal, reduction, or acquittal.
In the event the officer arrests you with NO substantial evidence of DUI, then this arrest SHOULD result in a court dismissal or a reduction. Whatever circumstances led you to be driving while you have the smell of alcohol or drugs, so that you are then targeted as a DUI suspect, your NAME-DROPPING, TALKING or BEGGING to be let go will NOT DO ANY GOOD. Wait to meet with your DUI law firm, to go over these issues and “connections.”
Myth No. 9: A misdemeanor DUI charge is NO BIG DEAL. Nothing could be further from the truth. In most jurisdictions, a DUI conviction remains on your record for LIFE. You take it to the GRAVE. If a person is seriously injured or killed by you driving while impaired, you can face felony DUI charges that range from one year in PRISON up to LIFE IMPRISONMENT. Different states classify the UNINTENTIONAL causing of a death by virtue of being DUI as a serious felony, and call this offense either “homicide by vehicle, vehicular manslaughter or even MURDER in several states, when the circumstances of your prior bad driving record justifies escalating the charge to MURDER.
Talk to a veteran DUI lawyer in your town night or day at 1-888-839-4384.