What are some common misconceptions people have about the DUI process?
- People do not understand the licensing consequences, and the fact that there are two separate proceedings (the administrative proceedings and the court matter).
- People do not understand how important the DMV process is in terms of preparing for the criminal case.
- People do not understand that the blood alcohol level is only one part of the case. In this regard, people do not understand that even though you have a high blood alcohol level, it does not mean you will be convicted.
- People do not understand that now, after Missouri v. McNeely (2013) the police need a warrant to obtain a chemical test. If you do not provide a breath or blood sample, the DMV can attempt to suspend your license for a refusal. Without the breath or blood test results it often will be difficult for the district attorney’s office to obtain a conviction. If the police were at your home, you would not need to let them in unless the police had a warrant. The same rationale applies to allowing the police to obtain a chemical sample.
- People do not understand that it can make a big difference in terms of who you have handle the case. Most attorneys do not know much about DUI’s or the licensing issues.
What do you tell a person who wants to act as their own representation in court?
- Bad idea. If you were not a dentist, you would not fill your own cavity. If you are not an attorney, you should not handle your own criminal case.
- The worst thing people can do is represent themselves and not notice a valid defense that would result in dismissal. If they don’t know the issues, they cannot spot them.
Do you ever have people that want to give up or try to plead guilty? Are they aware of the consequences?
- Yes, people want to from time to time. Before you do that, you should know all of the facts, obtain all of the information, and have someone experienced evaluate the case.