10 Biggest Misconceptions About Suffolk County DUI Laws
Movies, books and gossip have created a culture that believes they understand the ins, outs and all other specifics of DUIs and DWIs. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy. And it’s not just because they get it wrong, exaggerate for drama or comedy, or purposefully mislead–although sometimes this is the case. It is mainly because, from state to state, there are wildly different laws concerning driving after or during the consumption of alcohol or other intoxicants. For those who are affected by Suffolk County DUI laws, myths and personal rights are important to understand, especially because Long Island is New York’s drunk driving crash capital.
Myth #1: Employers Aren’t Concerned With A DUI.
Some employers may not care about a DUI, especially one that occurred years ago. They understand that mistakes happen and people make poor decisions. But just accepting a DUI charge, without fighting it, can be an employment gamble.
First of all, if it comes down to you and another candidate, and that other candidate has a clean record, they’ll have the upper hand. In addition, personal biases affect employers’ decisions. There are many people who lost a loved one, knew someone who was injured, or underwent vehicular damage do to an intoxicated driver. They likely hold a grudge.
Second, while DWIs may not effect every form of employment, there are many that will become immediately unavailable to you if you have a DUI on your record. These jobs include airline pilots, commercial drivers, individuals involved in transportation, and school system jobs. For those in Long Island, hiring a Suffolk Country criminal lawyer is often the best decision to handle Suffolk County DUI Laws.
Myth #2: If I Refuse The Breathalyzer There’s No Evidence.
This is quite possibly the biggest DUI myth out there. The tricky part is that it is partially true. A poor performance on the breathalyzer is all that’s needed for a conviction. However, it is not the only route to gain a DUI conviction with Suffolk County DUI Laws.
Even if an individual refuses the test, a police officer’s opinion is also sufficient evidence for a conviction. All the officer has to attest to is that the person was swerving while driving, going far below or above the speed limit, or driving in a reckless manner. An officer can also use the person’s demeanor, such as an odor of alcohol, poor balance, slurred speech, or glassy and red eyes.
So it’s true, unless you’re a commercial driver, it’s optimal to refuse a breathalyzer test. But this doesn’t mean you don’t need a Suffolk County DUI lawyer.
Myth #3: I Can’t Be Charged For Driving While Under The Influence Of Prescribed Medication.
While you won’t be charged with possession of an illegal substance, you’ll still get a DUI. Think about it like alcohol. If you’re over the age of 21, it is legal to drink. However, it is not legal to drink and then drive under Suffolk County DUI Laws.
New York law says that individuals are not allowed to operate motor vehicles if their ability is impaired–by any substance, whether prescribed, over-the-counter, or otherwise legal.
Myth #4: A Good Performance On A Field Sobriety Test Means An Easy Case.
Suffolk County DUI Laws are not easy. Period. That said, if you perform well on field sobriety tests it can make things easier.
The caveat is that most people believe they performed well when, in fact, they showed multiple signs of intoxication. And the truly unfortunate fact is that field sobriety tests are designed for people to fail. Even the most sober people will struggle to pass them.
Myth #5: My Last Lawyer Didn’t Win My Previous DWI Case, So It’s Pointless Hiring A Lawyer For My Second DWI.
Just because you got one bad hair cut doesn’t mean you should never get your hair cut again. This logic can put you in a very dangerous situation.
This is especially the case if the previous DUI happened in the last decade. In New York, if you receive two DUI charges within 10 years, the second DUI case is elevated to a felony. To clarify, this doesn’t mean the charge is elevated, but rather the punishment.
Simply put, find a better Suffolk County criminal lawyer.
Myth #6: I Wasn’t Read My Miranda Rights, So My Case Will Be Dismissed.
This myth is pretty clearly tied to movies and television and it is an enormous and unfortunate misconception. Police officers rarely need to read anyone their Miranda Rights.
Miranda Rights only need to be read if the officer is going to interrogate and question them after the arrest. In New York, the questions that are asked when someone is pulled over for a DUI (i.e. if they had any alcohol, how much they had, where they are going, etc.) are purely investigatory, not an interrogation. But these words can still be used against them.
Myth #7: DWIs Only Happen To Criminals, Alcoholics And Drug Addicts.
DUIs can happen to anyone. Just because an individual looks like an upstanding citizen doesn’t mean the court’s decision will be impacted.
But even more seriously, more individuals are falsely accused of DUIs than anyone else. This is mainly due to the politics of DUIs and police training. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. police are actively looking for individuals who are driving under the influence—there is widespread belief that they must be coming from a party or bar.
It’s also important to remember that these same people may have only had one or two drinks. This isn’t illegal. In New York, it is illegal to have more than 0.08 percent of alcohol in your blood, or to be otherwise severely impaired. Oftentimes this means much more than a drink or two.
Myth #8: The Police Officer’s Attitude Will Effect The Case.
This is a fairly naive misconception. Police officers are well-trained and are valiant upholders of the law. Just because they are nice or mean doesn’t indicate they are or aren’t doing their job.
If they were rude to you, it’s your word against theirs. Don’t rely on a camera capturing the interaction. 95 percent of New York’s police force don’t have body cameras or microphones.
If an officer was nice to you, don’t expect that to make a difference. Most police officers are nice. It makes their job easier. Suspects cooperate and are cordial in return. And anyway, the police officer has no say in the deal that will be made or the charges put against you.
Myth #9: I Should Hire A Lawyer Who Is Cheap, Guarantees Success Or Is A Friend.
Deals that sound too good to be true pretty much always are. You are going to get what you pay for. If you want your lawyer to put in effort, care about your case, and look for all possible defenses, you’ll need to pay for that.
This too good to be true deal also applies to lawyers who promise success. DWI cases are too unpredictable–there’s no guarantee. Judge a lawyer based on their experience and track record.
special care should also be taken when considering a friend who is a lawyer. Yes, they may have the best intentions. They may even be a criminal defense attorney or former prosecutor. But if they’re not a DUI defense attorney, be cautious. This is a specialized field. It’s not worth the risk of saving a few bucks or making a friend feel good.
Myth #10: I Can Get My DUI Expunged.
While some of the other myths can remain in the grey area, this one doesn’t. In New York, there is no expungement statute. This charge will forever be on an individual’s record. It will also need to be reported on many applications and insurance contracts–it matters.
To ensure that you get an experienced Suffolk County DUI lawyer who has your best interest at heart, contact us.