There are many, many myths and stories surrounding DUIs. When talking with non-lawyers about what we do for a living we are often asked about myths like putting a penny in your mouth to beat the breathalyzer or the impossibility of saying your ABCs backwards. Here are a few myths and the real story you need to know if you’ve been charged with DUI in Knoxville.
Myth 1: If I refused a test I automatically lose my license, there’s nothing I can do.
This is not the law. It is not true. BUT police officers, the general public, and even many lawyers believe this myth. We’ll address this myth in more detail later.
Myth 2: If my blood or breath test (BAC) is over the legal limit, I’m automatically guilty.
Similarly to the refusal myth, many people cannot imagine how they might not be found guilty of there blood alcohol concentraction (BAC) is over the legal limit. If this myth were true, we’d lose a large majority of our cases. We don’t. There are numerous defenses to DUI, even if your BAC is over the legal limit of .08%.
Myth 3: The more money a lawyer charges, the better he must be.
There is a relationship between a lawyer’s fee and his expertise, but it’s not direct. A fee will often be influenced more by how expensive a lawyer’s offices, staff, and advertising are, than by his results in court.
Myth 4: The court system treats everyone equally and every case is decided based solely on its merits.
Unfortunately, like any system, the criminal justice system is not perfect. Case outcomes depend on many factors besides guilt or innocence. Every lawyer, juror, judge, police officers, and every other integral part of the court system is human and that means there will be variability from case to case.
Myth 5: I really am innocent so I don’t need a lawyer.
Again, in a perfect world, this would be true. BUT…
I’ve represented many innocent clients. Many are understandably upset at the expense, embarrassment, and inconvenience of being charged with a crime they didn’t commit. Unfortunately, rarely would these people be able to win their cases without professional representation.
Myth 6: I’ve never been arrested before, so this won’t be that difficult.
Most people charged with DUI have no prior record. It is in unusual crime in that respect. Having no prior record is certainly a good thing, but it won’t get you very far in winning your case.
Myth 7: The Court will assign me a free lawyer, so I don’t need to hire one.
That might be true, but the court will only give you a lawyer if you qualify financially. That is up to the judge who would have to find you “indigent” based on your sworn statement. There are many good lawyers working as public defenders, but even the best will have many more cases to focus on than we will. That means more time to investigate, spend in court, and keep you informed each step of the way.
Myth 8: I was only using prescribed medication by my doctor, not illegal drugs or alcohol, so I’m not guilty.
Prescription medication DUIs are becoming extremely prevalent. There are many reasons for this, including doctors writing more narcotic and scheduled prescriptions and police officers being taught to be on the lookout for drivers using prescription drugs. There are also very good defenses to these cases. However, the law makes no distinction for illegal versus prescribed drugs and having a prescription, by itself, is not a defense to DUI by prescription drugs.