What Are Some Other Misunderstandings Or Misconceptions People Have, Particularly Once They Have Been Arrested For A DUI?
There are a couple of common misconceptions surrounding DUI arrests. There are really two types of misconceptions that are seen when clients come to visit an attorney for the first time: “I have no hope, I am going to jail, this is going to ruin my life, I’m going to get fired, I’m not going to be able to make my mortgage payments or support my family,” etc. Essentially, they are giving up before we have even seen the evidence and formulated our defenses, which in most cases have resulted in reduced consequences and in many cases having the entire case thrown out.
The other misconception is essentially the opposite, “the officer made a mistake by putting a wrong letter or number on the citation”, “I’m sure I passed the field sobriety tests”, or “I am going to go through the first court hearing. I am going to tell the judge my story and the judge is going to think that I am a good person and just dismiss my case right there.” These are the two types of misconceptions really. One is the overly pessimistic client and one is the overly optimistic client.
However, the reality is that there is always hope with a DUI because even if you get a DUI charge pending and it looks really bad and serious, there are a thousand different ways to attack a DUI. A skilled attorney can very often find ways to beat a DUI and, in most cases, can find ways to significantly reduce the consequences if they know what they are doing; so there is always hope. The second thing is people think that even a minor mistake by a police officer will be thrown out. Maybe the officer did not protect your rights, or they did something wrong in the process and so the client might think, “Well, this is just going to get thrown out on its own.”
Even when the officer screwed something up badly, or when there are serious problems with the way the state handled the case, it always takes a fight. The state does not just throw cases out easily. Once they charge it, they feel like they made the right decision by charging it. They feel like they properly vetted the case before they charged it. Furthermore, there is a lot of political pressure to get DUI convictions. It generates a lot of money for the city or county because of the fines and fees they collect on DUI convictions. The prosecutor’s office tracks DUIs and keeps rigorous statistics, so the elected official can tell the voters that they are tough on crime or tell the City Council or Board of Supervisors how much money they’ve raised. If it has gotten to the point where it is charged, it is going to be a battle to get it thrown out. Sometimes, a skilled defense attorney can do that; oftentimes they can reduce very significantly the consequences that would occur without skilled counsel. In any event, having an attorney with the knowledge, skill, and desire to truly fight can make a monumental difference in the outcome of any DUI case.
With respect to those who tend to be hopeless after a DUI charge, one thing to point out is that the consequences for a DUI vary greatly depending on the alcohol level. The State uses a very complex piece of scientific machinery to test for alcohol levels. Knowing the science behind the testing device is a huge advantage for particularly qualified defense attorneys because many prosecutors don’t invest the time to truly understand these complex machines. Many cases have been beat simply because the more educated defense attorney was able to plant doubt in the minds of the jury regarding the accuracy of the machines, and the prosecutor simply didn’t know how to respond. This is especially important when you’re looking at an Extreme or Super Extreme DUI, because creating doubt about how accurate those levels are can save someone a significant amount of jail time.
Another misconception at play here is that sometimes people come in to our office and they say, “Well, my friend got a DUI. These were their consequences, so that’s what I am expecting.” Every DUI is unique; every criminal case is unique, and it requires a personalized approach on how best to defend it. There are certain strategies that a defense attorney will employ in every single case, but there are other strategies that will vary from case to case. Each case is a fact specific situation. Every case is different, so the type of strategy that you employ to attack a case varies from case to case. Two people with the exact same blood alcohol content or the exact same drug in their system could end up with very, very different results depending on the type of strategy that was employed and the skill of the attorney that represented them.
A final misconception about DUI arrests is that people come in saying, “Well, I did great on the field sobriety tests. I passed them with flying colors. The officer told me I passed them.” Based on years of experience doing DUI, both as prosecution and defense, there has never been a police report where the officer said that the person passed the field sobriety tests. It just does not happen because there are very subtle cues that the officers are looking for. You can be completely sober or a professional athlete, and still the officer is most likely going to observe cues on those field sobriety tests that they can use to justify a DUI conviction.
If you are not sure What Misconceptions People Have When Arrested for a DUI in Arizona, call the law office of Tait & Hall for a FREE Initial Consultation at (480) 405-6767 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.