Top Misconceptions About DUI Charges


There is a lack of perception that driving under the influence of prescription medication is not a crime, and there is also a lack of understanding of some of the penalties. With DUI alcohol, it’s a little bit different because, by the time they contact me, they have read about it and understand it a bit more than before the days of the Internet, but there is a much bigger lack of understanding for drug DUIs.

There are certainly misconceptions, but the knowledge that is available now is much greater than in the past, although that seems to be more true with young people than older people. One huge misconception comes because they have a friend of a friend or a cousin or something like that whose case was dismissed for some reason, and they assume that will happen to them. That is the top misconception, but these days, that’s much less than it used to be.

What Are Common Mistakes That Are Detrimental to a DUI Case?

In terms of mistakes, the biggest one is not taking action to prevent the license suspension. Depending on the facts and the jurisdiction of the case, it’s quite common for the police to take a person’s driver’s license and start a proceeding to have the license suspended and, if the arrested person takes no action, the license will be suspended within 15 days, even if there are no chemical test results available. Another mistake is sometimes being too proactive, like deciding that, by the time they go to court, if they’ve done alcohol counseling, it will make them look good, but the problem is, they may do the wrong kind of counseling; it may not be a counseling program that’s approved by the courts or the Motor Vehicle Department, which means they may become very frustrated, since they’ve already done counseling, why should they have to do it all over again?

When someone hires me, I have a standard 15-20 page questionnaire, in which I ask them to provide me WITH information about what happened, a statement for my benefit about what happened and other factors that are important. It’s obviously best to do that when the memory of the incident is fresh; to do that two mothers later is not as good as doing it right after the event.

Along the same lines, people think that it’s helpful to get statements from people, so they get their friends to write out a statement, which is definitely a bad idea, since, if I receive statements and I’m representing someone, I have to disclose the statements to the prosecutor, no matter what they say.  Often those statements are ill thought out and although made with sincerity, can hurt the person’s case and not help. I quickly tell people I don’t want statements; I’ll talk to people and make my own notes.

Are DUIs Bondable Offenses In Arizona?

Yes, they are, although the one exception comes if you’re out of custody on a felony and you’re arrested on a new felony DUI, you’re non-bondable for the second one. For misdemeanors, it somewhat varies by jurisdiction, but most cases are started by a citation or summons in the mail because they didn’t have a chemical test available; for those cases, conditions of release are generally not set and so there are no restrictions on the person’s movements while the case is pending.

Is there a Typical DUI Backstory that You Hear?

It is very common for people to underestimate what they had to drink, at least according to chemical test results if received later; they’ll claim two or three beers when their blood-alcohol level is at 0.20%, which doesn’t add up.  It’s very common for people to do that; to underestimate what they had to drink at least in terms of their chemical test would indicate.

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