Many people, attorneys and judges included, have a completely wrong attitude toward a DUI charge. They are trapped by believing many common lies about a Tennessee DUI. Such lies can lead to dire consequences due to improperly investigating the case and knowing the law. Some of the common misconceptions and myths about DUI include the following:
A DUI is a "simple" charge.
Do you think it is simple to lose your job? Is it simple to be unable to drive? Is it simple to be unable to travel to other countries? Is it simple to be unable to rent an apartment? Is it simple to be banned for life from having a Commercial driver's license? Is it simple to go to jail? Is damaged credit rating's simple? Is it simple for your insurance to increase by thousands of dollars for years to come?
This is just a start to some of the hidden costs of a DUI. This is a charge follows you for years and possibly a lifetime. There is nothing "simple" about the type of penalties you can suffer from a "simple" DUI.
Regretfully, far too many untrained attorneys think of a DUI as "simple" and advise their clients to quickly enter a plea. A trained, competent DUI lawyer can help you understand the dangers you face and protect you from this harm.
A DUI case is the same as any other criminal case.
If the consequences were not so serious this would be humorous. A judge recently said, "A DUI case is one of the most difficult cases to try, more difficult than most murder cases." In many areas, the courts handle DUI cases differently from other offenses. For example, in a murder case, the defense lawyer will order an independent analysis of ballistics tests, blood spatter patterns, fingerprints, and other physical evidence. This is not true in a drunk driving case. Tennessee law does not require an officer taking a breath test to capture a sample of the breath so it can be analyzed independently at a later date, even though the machines can seal samples at a minimal cost. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that it is perfectly acceptable that such critical evidence is destroyed.
In the judicial system, DUIs are special. Yes, different rules apply to a DUI case. In a run of the mill criminal case, you would be allowed to view and test the evidence against you. If blood were involved you could have it tested also. In most DUI cases the evidence consists of a breath test which produces a number printed on a piece of paper. In Tennessee, your breath is not saved for additional testing. The machine ECIR II could be equipped for a minimal cost but the state has chosen not to. The courts have said not a big issue, it is DUI evidence and we will ignore that evidence was destroyed.
If you were arrested, you must be guilty.
You certainly don't want an attorney representing you who starts off thinking you are guilty. An attorney should believe in his client and devote himself to defending his client.
The evidence in most drunk driving cases is a breath test. A skillful attorney can be successful in exposing the problem with such a test. Because of their lack of sophistication, most scientists would not trust the results of a breath test machine as a basis for research or investigation. Both the accuracy and reliability of these machines are subject to challenge.
The breath machine is just that a machine purchased in a government contract. There are a number of ways to attack a breath machine. This is not a scientific instrument yet the state want to treat it as such. There are reliability, accuracy, administration and training errors, just to name a few.
You can't win a Tennessee DUI case.
Oh my goodness, we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into believing this lie. It is outrageous to think that a person would actually pay a lawyer who believes this lie.
An experienced DUI lawyer will start preparing for trial the very first meeting. He will investigate and subpoena every piece of evidence available. The lawyer will often fight extensively through motions and other procedural maneuvers. The client should not automatically be advised to plead guilty because an attorney who is not properly trained believes that these cases are difficult or impossible to win.
DUI is a minor offense.
The stigma of a conviction can cause tremendous stress and fear. Many drivers whose licenses are suspended continue driving to keep a job and provide for their families. By doing so, they live in fear of being stopped, caught, and jailed for driving with a suspended license. Most of those convicted suffer financially and socially. In most states, a DUI conviction is permanently on their record. Only those justly convicted should have to endure these emotional, financial and psychological hardships.
It is not a crime to have a drink and drive. Convictions for drunk driving should only occur when a person's blood alcohol level exceeds the arbitrary numerical standard set by the state, or when it is proven that person's bad driving is connected to an impaired state due to a high alcohol level.
You have a right to inquire about the training your potential attorney has received. You should be sure that the lawyer has spent substantial time training specifically in the field of DUI.
Free Consultation With An Attorney
To learn about your defense options following a DUI arrest, contact May & McKinney, PLLC by calling (615) 265-6383.