The list of misconceptions about DUI/DWI charges is longer than the imaginary line that officers ask someone to walk during a walk-and-turn test. As a trusted Allen TX DUI/DWI defense lawyer, I address three of those common myths below:
MYTH 1: I can’t be convicted of DUI/DWI if my blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the legal limit.
REALITY: Most state statutes allow the prosecution to achieve a conviction for DUI/DWI even if a breathalyzer or blood draw determines your BAC was below the legal limit. Generally, the state only has to prove that your mental and/or physical condition has been diminished to the point where you can’t operate a vehicle normally.
MYTH 2: You can’t face a civil suit based on a DUI/DWI charge.
REALITY: If you injure someone or are involved in an accident stemming from a DUI/DWI, you can and likely will be sued for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and other legal costs. The standard of proof in a civil case is much lower than that in a criminal case, so even if you are found not guilty on the DUI/DWI charge, you aren’t out of the woods. Most insurance companies will not cover “punitive” damages designed to punish you for getting drunk and injuring someone; thus, you face the risk of having to pay those damages out-of-pocket. Finally, your plea and any admissions made by you in the criminal case can affect your civil suit. If you end up pleading guilty to the DUI/DWI charge, that will make it that much easier for the plaintiff to make his or her case.
MYTH 3: Fines, jail time, probation, and civil lawsuit damages are the only consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction.
REALITY: A DUI/DWI conviction can have lasting, unintended consequences on your life. Your driver’s license will likely be suspended for a period of time inconveniencing your family and friends. Even if you receive a “work permit” or “occupational” driver’s license, driving outside specified hours can subject you to additional criminal penalties. A conviction can also have travel and immigration consequences as well. Some countries will outright deny the ability to immigrate there while others will deny naturalization, and deny or delay “green” card/work visa renewal. Travel to and from the U.S. can be delayed at customs, and business trips to some countries may be delayed or blocked altogether. Your criminal record will likely affect future employment, housing applications, and child custody matters as well.
Drink responsibly; but if you’re charged with a DUI or DWI, contact an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer today.
Thanks to our friend and blog author, Scott M. Ruggiero of SMR Legal Group, for debunking a few common myths surrounding DUI/DWI charges.