One of the first pieces advice I give to clients who have been charged with a crime is: 1) Don’t go to Google to read about what you are charged with; and, 2) Don’t compare your case to others. Why? Because each case is different. If I have represented you, then you may have heard me say, “Each case stands on it’s own legs.”
It’s not uncommon. Someone gets charged with a DUI or other criminal offense. They are worried (and that’s okay) and they begin talking to friends or family in order to get advice on what to do. Through the conversation, he or she may hear about someone else who has been charged with the same offense and learn of the outcome.
I have heard more times than I can count, “My friend got charged with DUI and they got [fill in the blank] so they told me not to worry.” Or, “they told me I”ll probably get my DUI reduced and keep my driver’s license.” My response; see number 2 above.
Every DUI case and every criminal case is different. For example: 1) the basis for the traffic stop may be different; 2) the arresting officer (and therefore their investigation and conduct) may be different; 3) the blood alcohol content (BAC) may be different; 4) the criminal history of the person may be different; 5) the driving history may be different; 6) the legal issues that develop during the traffic stop may be different; 7) the legal defenses that arise may be different; 8) the basis for the DUI investigation (after the traffic stop) may be different; 9) the reputation of the arresting police officer may be different; 10) the evidence preserved (video, blood alcohol test, etc.) may be different; and, the list goes on and on.
No two cases are alike. Each case stands on it’s own legs. Do not compare your case to someone else’s. If you do, it’s simply a false sense of reality. Every criminal case and every DUI case is different. The defenses may be different. The factors listed above (at least these and probably more) will control the direction of your case.
What’s the best advice? Get an attorney who knows what to look for. Get an attorney who knows what impacts the direction of your criminal case or your DUI case. Don’t rely on a friend of a friend to give you comfort that “it’s going to be reduced” or the guy who says “I know a guy and all he got was [x].”
Protect yourself. After all, it’s your case and your life. Not the friend of a friend’s.
Tommy Santel is a co-founding partner of Parkerson Santel PLLC. Tommy is a former government prosecutor. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 General Civil Mediator. Tommy’s practice areas include criminal defense and civil litigation.
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