If you've been charged with a DUI, it is important that you proceed very carefully in order to minimize the impact that this charge has on your present-day and future life. In addition to working with a knowledgeable attorney, one of the best things you can do at this point is educate yourself regarding DUI charges. Learning to separate fact from fiction is an important part of gaining that knowledge. Here's a look at some common DUI myths you don't want to fall for.
Myth: If a breathalyzer test was not given, there is no real evidence against you, and your case will probably be thrown out.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. You can be charged and found guilty of driving while intoxicated without any evidence from a breathalyzer test. The blood alcohol content results from a breathalyzer simply make it easier for the judge or jury to convict you. They can still convict you without breathalyzer evidence if there is enough other evidence to suggest that you were driving under the influence. For example, if there is an officer's statement saying that you failed a field sobriety test and two witnesses stating that they saw you down five shots at the bar before getting behind the wheel, this will likely be enough evidence to convict you even without proof of your BAC.
Myth: If you were not read your Miranda Rights when you were pulled over, your case will be thrown out.
Depending on the circumstances of your DUI, the police may not have been required to read you your Miranda Rights. Miranda Rights must only be read to an individual when that person is being taken into police custody and is going to be subsequently interrogated. In many cases, when you are pulled over and taken into custody for a DUI, the police already have all of the evidence they need against you. They're not going to interrogate you further, so they do not need to read your Miranda Rights. If the officer failed to read you your rights and did interrogate you after arrest, then there is a possibility that your rights were violated and your case may be thrown out. However, proving that your rights were not read can be tough, so this is something you want to bring up to your attorney sooner rather than later.
Myth: If the police bullied you during your arrest and this evidence is on camera, you'll be let off.
If you have evidence that shows that the police treated you brutally or violently even though you were complying with their requests, then you might end up getting an easier sentence -- but this is not because police bullying negates what you did wrong. It's because the jury or judge may feel sympathetic for you and grant a lighter sentence as a result. This is highly situation-dependent, so you should not count on being let off easy because you feel you were mistreated.
Myth: If you can present a receipt that shows you only had 2 or 3 drinks, this will serve as proof of your innocence.
A receipt showing that you only purchased 2 or 3 drinks can be used as a piece of evidence in your favor, but this receipt alone is not enough to "prove" your innocence. If there is more evidence that suggests you were driving under the influence -- such as a failed field sobriety test and a witness saying that you were driving erratically -- you might still be found guilty. After all, there are so many possibilities in which the receipt may not be as concrete of evidence as you'd assume. You could have had three additional drinks at home before you bought those two at the bar. Or, the two drinks may have been something like Long Island iced teas -- which are the equivalent of 4 - 5 drinks each!
As you can see, DUI cases can be pretty complex. It's usually not as simple as presenting a single piece of evidence that shows your innocence. Make sure you hire an experienced DUI attorney from a firm like Hart Law Offices, PC, to fight your case for you. It's not just the evidence that's presented, but how it is presented -- and the right attorney can ensure it's presented in a light that is more likely to demonstrate your innocence.