WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE HAVE WHEN THEY FIRST COME TO SEE A LAWYER ABOUT THEIR DUI CASE?
The first thing people say is usually, “Well, they never gave me my rights.” That is mostly from watching television. People have the idea that if they do not give you your rights, then they cannot charge you or bring you to trial. However, in a DUI case, unfortunately, that is not the situation. They may never give you your rights in a DUI case. The Supreme Court has held all the questions that the officers ask like “How much you had to drink?”, “Where you're coming from?”, “What were you drinking?” etc.
For some reason, the Supreme Court has held that those are non-incriminating questions and therefore, you are not given your rights or that you are technically not in custody at that point. So you do not have to be given your rights and the cops never do. However, there is a disagreement to that interpretation of the Miranda rule but that is the way it is. That is the first misconception that, “Well, because I wasn't given my rights, there has got to be something we can do about the case and get it dismissed,” but that is not the case.
The other misconception is that the chemical test result, or blood and breath tests, is the end-all of the case. However, that is not correct at all. In fact, there are so many problems with the blood test with the way it is administered in California and the way the blood is analyzed in California. It is recommended with these DUIs, that if you are ever stopped, not to take a breath test. Only take the blood test for a couple of reasons. Those are the two basic misconceptions.
HOW PUBLIC IS SOMEONE'S SITUATION GOING TO BE WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR A DUI?
In other professions like lawyers, if the lawyer is charged with a DUI, the District Attorney is supposed to notify the Bar. However, that is rare too; they do not usually do that.
There is also a marketing group that combs the records of the various police departments on behalf of certain lawyers who pay them a fee to do that. They take the names and addresses of people that are arrested for a DUI and give them to the lawyers. The lawyers send out a form letter telling them they should “Call me” or call the person. That is a marketing tactic, but good lawyers will not do that, as that is kind of ambulance chasing. Moreover, a lot of times the spouse may not want their spouse to know about it or their families. If it is a DUI arrest, that is how sometimes the friends and family find out. Professional lawyers like Blackie Burak, are totally against that sort of marketing. Generally, nobody finds out about it except the person that got arrested.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE THAT CAN POTENTIALLY HURT THEIR CASE?
There are not many mistakes people make after they have been arrested. The most common one is not taking the blood test for one reason or another. The police will tend to encourage people to take the breath test because they can see the result right away. They do not have to call in somebody to take the blood and send it to the lab and handle the evidence as it takes a couple of weeks to get the results back on that.
The police want you to take a breath test, and most people are intimidated into taking that breath test. However, it is strongly recommended you only take the blood test. If you have recently been drinking, say, within the last hour, even two hours after drinking, and you take a breath test, the breath test will generally overestimate what is truly on your blood. That is one of the main reasons it is suggested people take the blood test.
Secondly, the blood test they use is a pretty antiquated way of analyzing the blood in California which can be attacked in court. The handling of the test from the beginning to end collection to the analysis, is open to attack and usually it is fertile ground for assumptions. Breath tests do not have that problem. A breath test is actually easier for them to prove in court.
Therefore, taking a breath test versus a blood test will be the biggest mistake. Also, talking about their case to the police, thinking that the police officer is their friend and asking the police officer for advice like what tests I should take, should I get a lawyer, is also a common mistake. The police officers are not your friends and they are not going to give you the correct advice. That is because generally they themselves do not know what they are talking about and they are going to just do what is easiest for them and that is not necessarily in the person's best interest. Those are the most common mistakes.
To get answers to Common Questions Asked By Someone Facing A DUI Charge in California, call The Law Office Of Blackie Burak for a FREE Case Evaluation at (925) 933-4500 and get the information and legal answers you're seeking.