Common Misconceptions about a DUI Charge

Interviewer: What are some of the top misconceptions people have about being arrested for DUI and the whole process?

I Only Had Two Beers…

Jerald Novak: One of the big misconceptions is that people often lose track of how much alcohol they have consumed over what period of time. Many people will say, “Well, I didn’t drink for the hour or two hours before I drove, and I felt fine.” I’m sure they did.

Many People Underestimate the Effects of Alcohol

The problem is that if you think about the human body as a test tube, the question is how much content is in that test tube? In other words, when you’re charged with driving under the influence with a BAC or breath-alcohol concentration above 0.08—they’re not saying that you were affected by the amount of alcohol you consumed. But if you were a test tube, there’s just too much in your test tube.

Most people don’t think about the fact that they stopped drinking two hours ago, but they still may have ‘x’ amount of alcohol in their body, which will exceed the 0.08 limit. This is because they felt fine, they felt coordinated, and so forth.

That’s why the government keeps lowering the BAC, because they’re not trying to stop people who are affected. They’re just trying to stop people from consuming a certain amount. That’s the biggest misconception: How quickly alcohol will burn off from the body.

“Niceness” Is Not Going to Dissuade an Officer from Charging a Driver with DUI

The second misconception is that they believe the police will give them some type of break or latitude because of their standing in the community, their lack of criminal history, the fact that they’re nice to the police officer, and they are cooperative with the police officer.

Another misconception is once they get to court, they’ll be able to explain it all away. Let me tell you something. Without a well-trained, very experienced, DUI defense lawyer, you’re going nowhere trying to explain it away.

If Your License Is Suspended in Conjunction with the DUI Arrest, You May be Able to Obtain a Driving Permit

I guess the last misconception and the biggest misconception is everyone says to me if their license is suspended, they will be devastated. If the suspension was in conjunction with the arrest, your license will become suspended.

Most people complain, “If my license is suspended, I’ll lose everything. I’ll lose my job. I’ll lose my home. I’ll lose custody of my children, etc.” In most cases, that will not happen because there are ways you can get a driving permit during the suspension. In many cases we can go into court and challenge the suspension and obtain a rescission or cancellation of that suspension. In many instances, clients overreact and feel that their life really will be ending because of this occurrence.

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