Myths Busted: Debunking Common Misconceptions About DUI Defense

When it comes to DUI defense, countless myths and misconceptions often cloud the minds of those facing charges or seeking legal advice. These misunderstandings not only sow confusion but can also have serious implications for the outcome of a case. 


At Stechschulte Nell Law, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is committed to dispelling these falsehoods and shedding light on the truth. Here, we will debunk some of the most common misconceptions surrounding DUI defense, providing clarity and guidance for anyone navigating through this complex legal territory.  



Myth 1: You Can’t be Arrested for a DUI if You’re Not Driving 


The truth is, that the term DUI extends far beyond the act of driving. DUI, short for Driving Under the Influence, refers to the operation and actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other intoxicants. The law does not strictly define ‘operation’ as driving.  


  • Operation can include situations where a person is in control of a vehicle, even if they’re not actively driving. This could mean sitting or sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, even if the engine is not running. 
  • If you’re in the driver’s seat and the engine is off, but the keys are in the ignition, or even just in the vehicle, you could potentially be arrested for a DUI. 


You can get a DUI on a bicycle, a boat, or even a horse in some jurisdictions. If you’re in control of a mode of transport and are impaired, you could be at risk of a DUI arrest. 


Myth 2: Breathalyzer Tests are Mandatory  


First, let’s clarify what a breathalyzer test is. It’s a device used by law enforcement to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. The common belief is that it’s compulsory to take this test when pulled over on suspicion of DUI. However, this is not entirely accurate.  


  • You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test. However, refusal might come with its own set of consequences, such as immediate suspension of your driving license. 
  • The officer must have probable cause to administer a breathalyzer test. This means they must have strong evidence to believe you are under the influence, such as erratic driving, the smell of alcohol, or slurred speech. 
  • The accuracy of these devices is not infallible, and various factors can affect the results, including calibration issues or medical conditions. 


Myth 3: A Failed Breathalyzer Test Means You’re Automatically Guilty of a DUI 


This misconception doesn’t take into account the nuances of the law or the potential inaccuracies that can occur with breathalyzer testing. Here’s why:  


  • Machine Error:  If the device hasn’t been properly maintained, it could provide a false positive. 
  • Operator Error: The officer administering the test might not have followed the correct procedure. This can affect the results and may provide grounds for your defense. 
  • Dietary Factors: Certain diets or medical conditions can affect breathalyzer results. For instance, people with diabetes or those following a ketogenic diet may have elevated levels of acetone in their breath, which can be mistaken for alcohol by some breathalyzer models. 


While a failed breathalyzer test is certainly a serious issue, it doesn’t seal your fate.  

Myth 4: A DUI Conviction is Inevitable if You’ve Been Arrested


While getting arrested can be an incredibly alarming experience, it’s important to remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction. There are many ways to defend a DUI charge and potentially avoid a conviction. 


  1. Questioning the Authenticity of the Field Sobriety Test:  If your attorney can prove that the test was improperly conducted or that its results were not reliable, this could cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. 
  2. Challenging the Breathalyzer Results:  If your lawyer can show that the machine used in your case was faulty or not correctly calibrated, the results may be deemed inadmissible in court. 
  3. Arguing that the Police Stop was Unjustified:  If it can be argued that the stop was unjustified, any evidence obtained during the stop could be thrown out. 


Remember, being arrested for a DUI is not the end of the road. It’s crucial to explore all your defense options and seek skilled legal advice.  


Myth 5: DUI is a Minor Offense with Minimal Consequences


The penalties of DUI, can vary depending on the jurisdiction, the circumstances of the offense, and whether it’s a first-time or repeat offense. 


These penalties could include: 


Fines: Fines for DUI offenses can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the offense. 


License Suspension: Your driving privileges may be revoked for a certain period, which varies depending on the severity of the offense and whether it’s a repeat offense. 


Jail Time: While first-time offenders may escape with a fine and license suspension, repeat offenders or those involved in a DUI accident may face jail time. 


Increased Insurance Rates: After a DUI conviction, your auto insurance rates will likely increase significantly. In some cases, your insurance company may even cancel your policy. 


Other potential consequences: 


  • Community service 
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your car 
  • Trouble getting a job  
  • Social stigmas or damage to your reputation  


Remember,  a DUI is anything but a minor offense with minimal consequences, which is why you need a skilled lawyer to defend your case.  


Read More > How to Tell Law Enforcement That You Have a Gun at a DUI Stop  


Get Skilled DUI Defense  


Facing a DUI charge can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. However, it is important to remember that you do not have to navigate the legal process alone. Our experienced lawyers at Stechschulte Nell Law are here to offer you the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. 


We understand the complexities of DUI cases and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at 813-280-1244 for a confidential consultation. 


Remember, your future is at stake, and we are ready to fight for your rights. 

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