Interviewer: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions that people have about drug related DUIs?
Michael Munoz: I think just in general, a lot of people think that if they’re not drinking, then they’re okay to drive. I think that’s the biggest misconception. I haven’t had anything to drink and so I’m fine. And unfortunately in this new age where doctors are giving out lots of prescription drugs to people, I see a lot of elderly clientele who are taking multiple medications and don’t realize that they can actually be charged with a DUI because of those medications.
People Have to Realize that Prescription Drugs are Impairing Substances
I think that’s one of the biggest misconception is that lots of people take prescription drugs, for pain, fibromyalgia, they take lots of sleep aids, Ambien is one of the most popular one that people are getting DUIs from. And they are doing it under the care of their doctor because their doctor told them to do so they think it is totally fine. What people have to realize is those drugs can possibly be impairing substances and they have to be very cognizant to that and try to be smart before they get behind the wheel of the vehicle.
Common Client Mistakes Detrimental to a Favorable Resolution in a Drug Related DUI
Interviewer: What are some of the things, when someone is charged with a drug related DUI, what are some of the things that people do unintentionally to hurt their case?
Michael Munoz: The most common thing that people do is they just volunteer too much information. I think a lot of people have been raised like that, you know if a cop asks you a question, you need to be very honest and tell them everything. Fortunately, that is completely opposite to protecting your constitutional rights. We have constitutional rights, the fifth amendment that protects us from self-incrimination and I think more people should probably use it in those situations and a lot of times someone does not even know if they are incriminating themselves or not. To be safe, they should exercise their fifth amendment rights regardless of if they did something wrong or not because a lot of times they just don’t understand some of the legal consequences.
Police Officers May Utilize Very Small Questions to Confuse a Driver and then Suggest Impairment
For instance, if an officer asks you where are you driving, where are you heading, well if you are confused and lost, and you tell them where you’re going and you’re not near that area at all, that can be twisted against you and used to look like that you’re impaired by something. So a lot of people don’t understand that. Very small questions could actually get you in trouble. When it comes to drug DUIs, I think the most common thing is that people just need to exercise their fifth amendment rights and explain to an officer that they are not going to answer any questions without speaking to an attorney.
It is in the Best Interests of an Individual to Avoid Making Any Statements to the Police
I know that’s hard for people to do, but that’s the best way to protect themselves. I see lots of marijuana DUIs where the person gets stopped, normal traffic conditions ‘Hey you smoke any weed’ and answers, ‘Yea, I haven’t smoked at all today but I smoked yesterday.’ Well that’s the best way to get yourself a DUI because the officer is not going to take the risk that you are lying. He’s likely going to do a DUI investigation that day and you’re probably going to get arrested.