Do You Really Know The Truth About DUI Charges?

Posted on: 18 December 2018

Being charged with a DUI is probably one of your worst nightmares, but it is a situation you can work through with the help of a competent DUI lawyer. However, the process will go more smoothly if you are well aware of how DUI charges are handled and your options in court. Sadly, a lot of the common "information" circulated about DUIs is more myth than fact. Here are a few examples of DUI myths that aren't true.

Myth #1: You can't be charged with a DUI if you're not actually driving.

If you were arrested for a DUI while you were sitting behind the wheel of your car in a parking lot or while you were on the side of the road outside your car, you may figure getting out of the charges will be simple. After all, you can't really be convicted of a DUI if you weren't driving -- right? Well, not necessarily. In most states, the law is worded so that it's illegal for you to be operating or in otherwise physical control of a car while intoxicated. Sitting behind the wheel with the engine turned on could be interpreted as operating the car. Standing next to your car and trying to repair a tire while intoxicated on the side of the road could be interpreted, by some judges at least, as being in physical control of the car. 

There are people who go to court and have their DUI charge thrown out because they were not actually driving. But to have this happen for you, your lawyer will have to make a pretty strong argument that you did not have the intent to drive the vehicle -- and that argument can be a tough one to make.

Myth #2: If you refused the breathalyzer test, there will not be enough evidence to convict you of a DUI.

You do have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, but there will be consequences for doing so. In some states, this results in the automatic loss of your license for 6 months or more. Some people still refuse the test, figuring that the consequences are better than being charged with a DUI -- and that without breathalyzer evidence, there can't be a DUI charge. This is simply not true.

In almost all cases, breathalyzer test results are just one piece of evidence used to support the case that you were driving while intoxicated. There will also be the officer's testimony of your behavior, results of a field sobriety test, and the fact that you turned down the breathalyzer test. This evidence combines to suggest your guilt.

Myth #3: A DUI is no big deal since it is just a misdemeanor.

The fact that a DUI is a misdemeanor causes some charged parties to downplay its severity. You might figure you won't waste money on a lawyer; you'll just let the guilty charge make its way onto your record and move on. But while a DUI is not a felony, having one on your record can very seriously impact your life. You may have your license revoked for several months, you may not be able to drive into Canada, and you might not get a job you apply for because of your DUI record.

A DUI charge is on a whole other level than a traffic ticket for speeding or running a stop sign. You absolutely need to hire a lawyer who can work to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Otherwise, your life may look significantly different in a month or two -- and not in a good way.

For more real, non-myth-based DUI advice, reach out to a DUI attorney in your area.


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