How is it that by hiring a lawyer, you can almost always “get out of” a traffic ticket?  In this article, I’m going to skip all the discussion about policy and theory (the reader is likely not interested in that, anyway) and cut right to the chase about keeping points off of your record in a traffic ticket case, and how that applies in criminal and DUI cases, as well.  Whether you like it or not, there is a certain reality at work here, and in some ways it is related to the old observation that, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  Again, I want to avoid analyzing why things are the way they are, or how they should be in a perfect world, so I will use a real world example from my own life to illustrate:  In the process of building our home, my wife and I were asked to pick out things like plumbing and light fixtures (my wife, as it turned out, did all the picking, with my input being limited to a bunch of “uh-huh” and nodding-in-agreement responses) at certain supply businesses.  At some of these places, nothing could be purchased by the public at large, and at others, the price offered to those on the “inside” (builders, contractors and designers) was hugely discounted over what the public (we) would pay.  It may not be fair or right or whatever, but it is what it is, and unless we wanted to pay a price that was, in some cases, 40% more, we played by the rules, my wife picked out the stuff, and the ultimate purchase was made by our builder or designer.

img_1806The point I’m making is that there is a similarity when it comes to things like traffic tickets, and even criminal offenses and DUI charges.  In some cases, a lawyer, like me, walks in and just gets a deal that an unrepresented person can never procure simply because one is a lawyer and the other is not.  It’s why, for example, cops don’t get traffic tickets and why Chrysler, Ford and GM offer employee pricing.  It is what it is, and for my short time on the planet, I’m not about to take up the cause of whether that’s right or not; I offer my services to those who will pay for them in order to avoid the points on a traffic ticket or make things better in a drunk driving, misdemeanor or felony case.  When I need to, I go to someone to get the “friends and family” deal on a car, and I hire a contractor to do whatever work needs to be done at my home, and/or to avail myself of his or her discount on the supplies we need.  There are some “do-it-yourself” diehards who will try anything to save a buck, and to them I say, “good luck.”  I have no interest in either being one of those people, nor do I want to deal with them.  My own dad, who spent his career as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office and therefore did not earn a ton of money, was a firm believer in hiring a professional to do the job; he paid the plumber, the electrician and the mechanic to do things right.  While other dads may have spent an entire weekend figuring out and trying to do their own car repair, my dad was only too happy to drop the car off, have the mechanic fix it, and know that it was done correctly by someone who’s done that same repair countless times before.  I’m the same way both in terms of what I do as a lawyer, and what I hire outside professionals to do for me.

As I noted above, this connects with, but is certainly not limited to the idea of “who you know.”  In other words, there are courts a lawyer can walk into and just because he or she knows everyone, get a really good deal.  On the other hand, some lawyers may take cases in far-away courts (this is something I avoid completely by keeping things strictly local by appearing pretty much only in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County courts) and still be able to work everything out, just because he or she is a lawyer.  In one sense, that’s part “good ol’ boys network,” and in another sense, it’s not that at all.  At the end of the day, any lawyer who walks into any courthouse carries at least the implied understanding that either something can be worked out amicably, or it can be dragged out as a huge, time-consuming mess.  This is the real, if not unspoken point of hiring a lawyer in the first place…

In part 1 of this article, we began to examine the process of getting sober, and how real sobriety is not only a requirement, but the key component of a winning Michigan driver’s license restoration case.  I pointed out that people ultimately decide to quit drinking when they’ve had enough and realize that there is no way to control, manage or limit it.  I also pointed out that the perceived need to control one’s drinking is actually a clinical marker of the existence of drinking problem.  We saw that to win a license appeal,  a person must prove to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) that his or her alcohol problem is “under control” (meaning that he or she has not had a drink for a certain minimum period of time) and is “likely to remain under control” (meaning that he or she is a safe bet to never drink again).  The idea of hitting bottom is key to the decision to quit drinking, but, as we noted, it’s “staying quit” that really matters.  The state won’t give a license back to anyone who is seen as a risk to ever drink again, period.  The most reliable indicator that a person is genuinely “sober” and will not go back to drinking is the extent to which his or her focus shifts to how much better life is without alcohol rather than merely on the negative consequences that would accompany the resumption of drinking.

9adff455bd3091ff7dba5be7278653acWhat we wind up with is a kind of gulf, or valley, that separates those who have become sober from those who are still drinking.  The sober people will easily and happily relate how much better their lives have become since they put drinking – and all the trouble it brings – behind them, while those who have not yet put the bottle down understandably fear a change that will take pretty much everything familiar out of their lives.  No matter how great things have become for those who are now sober, there is no way to make that into a great sales pitch to someone to quit drinking when they cannot first even imagine life without alcohol.  What takes place when a drinker finally resolves to stop, and as he or she grows into sobriety, is really the process of getting sober, and is also very much a process of self-discovery.  Lots of my sober clients look back on what life was like when they drank and describe getting sober as kind of like lifting a fog, or taking off a blanket.  This necessarily involves a kind of retrospective analysis from an obviously better place.

Think back to my client who said that drunks don’t “do” anything.  They coast through life with a drink in their hand, not really feeling the moment, not really “feeling” the investment in relationships (this includes every kind of relationship, from family, friends and work) and not really feeling anything because pretty much the entire range of emotions they experience goes from wanting to drink to being outright drunk.  They may change the places and situations where they drink (from a bar to a boat to a golf course), but it’s just the same thing against a different backdrop.  This is why, after that fog lifts, the drinking friends are so easy to dump.  It’s not that they were bad people, it’s just that when a person clears his or her head, it’s plain to see that all there ever was in common with them centered on drinking.  It may take a little while, but once a person gets sober, he or she begins to earn back the trust and respect of the people who really matter, and begins to actually do things, even if it’s nothing profound.  You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest or pick up some new hobby to “do” something.  Even if all you do is begin to binge-watch TV shows on Netflix or something like that, the idea is that you’re actually “doing” something – anything – other than just getting drunk.

As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, I have written a lot about what it means to be sober, and how sobriety is a first requirement in order to win a Michigan driver’s license restoration appeal.  I have also noted that the process of getting sober involved profound life changes, but we’ve never really taken the time to look closely at that process.  For example, everyone knows that when someone gets sober, he or she ditches the drinking friends.  A sober person will always have gone through a boatload of changes from the time he or she stopped drinking, including in his or her friendships.  The contrast between then and  now is always rather stark, but what about the actual process of getting sober, and the things involved in that, like ditching the drinking friends and establishing new friendships, or reestablishing those that have been damaged through one’s drinking?  In this 2-part article, I want to examine the processes involved when a person goes from being a drinker to non-drinker, especially in light of how it fits squarely into the framework of a successful license appeal.

facebook-share-livingsoberOne big misconception is that a person has to be in AA to win his or her license back.  Alcoholics Anonymous is one of many ways to recover, and perhaps the most well-known of all the recovery processes, but it is not the only way people get sober, and it is absolutely NOT necessary for a person to be in AA to win a driver’s license restoration or clearance case.  On that point, I put my money where my mouth is:  I guarantee to win every license appeal case I take, and the majority of my clients are not in AA (although many have gone, even if just briefly, early in their recovery) at the time we begin the license appeal process.  The notion that AA is necessary to win a license reinstatement case is really a leftover from the past, when Alcoholics Anonymous was pretty much the only way people knew about to get sober.  Today, we understand that there isn’t any one specific method by which people get sober, but rather that there are as many ways to get sober as there are colors in a paint store.  Yet for as different as those ways may be, there are also certain universal experiences that everyone has in making the transition to an alcohol-free lifestyle.  It’s to those that we’ll direct our attention.

It is important to understand that, in a very real sense, no one just up and completely “quits” drinking as easily as turning off a light switch.  To put it another way, quitting is easy, but staying quit is a lot harder.  A genuine decision to not drink anymore is almost always made after a person has hit the wall, or “hit bottom.”  Especially early on, that commitment will really be put to the test.  If you’re like most people, by the time your drinking has become problematic, it has long since taken over much of your life; where you’d go, who you hung with and what you did all revolved around it.  Even those who “drank alone” developed a routine that became an established pattern in their lives; stop at the same stores, buy the same booze, and go home and drink the same way, until you got drunk and then passed out.  It’s what you know, and often, all you know.  In either case, no one decides to stop drinking because they’re having too much fun with it, yet everyone who has gone through the process of getting sober remembers that the early going was somewhat difficult, meaning the time immediately after quitting.

There is no shortage of DUI cases in Michigan.  According to the annual drunk driving audit of all courts, required by law and conducted by the Michigan State Police, there were approximately 46,248 alcohol-related traffic arrests in 2014 (2015 figures won’t be available for almost another year).  Even though there are plenty of DUI arrests during the fall and winter, things do get busier when the weather is warmer.  Boats get put in the water, barbecue parties happen all the time, the concert season swings into full gear, and people are just more inclined get out more than they do in the colder months.  Whereas most of my 250-plus DUI articles focus on a particular aspect of drinking and driving cases, I want to put up a short installment here that is more about general observations rather than specific analysis of drunk driving cases.

things-you-should-know-e1349801000893Cell phone tips about drunk drivers are relatively common nowadays.  Absolutely everyone has a cell phone.  The Police are experts at detecting signs of impaired driving, but when another motorist sees it so plainly that he or she picks up the phone and calls it in, it’s not unusual to find the driver was really, really drunk.  To date, I’ve never heard from anyone who has been erroneously called in and subsequently pulled over for being drunk and was found not to be.  In fact, I have not, in my 25-plus years, even met more than a couple of people who have ever been asked to step out of their vehicle who was not ultimately arrested for drinking and driving.  By the time a police officer gets to that, and barring a miracle, you’re going to jail.  If there’s a summary to this paragraph, it is probably that if you get called in as a suspected drunk driver or are asked to step out of the vehicle by the police, you get arrested.

If you have no prior DUI convictions within 7 years, you should almost always take the breath test.  The bad news here is that there is no way you can know when you should refuse.  If you decline, the Police will write you up for that refusal, and your driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year, unless you win (unlikely) a hearing at the Secretary of State or go to circuit court (different from the court where your DUI is pending) and file a petition for a restricted license.  That costs a lot of money and takes weeks and weeks, during which you cannot legally drive.  In 2nd offense and 3rd offense DUI cases, refusing the breathalyzer isn’t quite the same deal, although it almost never helps anyone, and, moreover, some 2nd offenders are finding themselves eligible for a restricted license if they go through a sobriety court, all of which is really complicated by having an additional suspension for refusing the breath test.  On top of all this, you can generally count on the police getting a warrant for a blood draw, especially for someone who has a prior DUI (or even more than one) on his or her record, so all refusing the breath test really does is make you look bad and causes you to come back with a elevated BAC (blood tests usually produce higher BAC results than breath tests).  Short answer; take the test.

I am somewhat unique as a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, because I guarantee that if I take your case, I will win it.  There are really no hidden exclusions beyond the understandable caveats that if a person withholds vital information or lies, I’m off the hook.  Fortunately, I seldom lose any cases, rarely have to do any kind of warranty work, and, to date, have never had a situation where I have refused to honor my guarantee.  I was recently speaking with someone about my driver’s license restoration practice and how and why I require that a person must have truly quit drinking before I’ll take his or her case.  I pointed out that I have to resist a very real monetary temptation when I turn people away who call the office and are willing to pay my fee, but that having my guarantee means I am tied to the case until the person wins, and therefore prevents me from just taking someone’s money and “giving it a shot.”  In other words, my guarantee keeps me honest.

honesty-is-the-best-policy1.1In most areas of the law, a lawyer cannot guarantee a particular outcome.  In a DUI, for example, a lawyer could make everything sound really favorable, get paid handsomely, and then stand there watching as the client gets hammered by the Judge.  License appeals filed with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Office (AHS) are different.  Because I know I’m stuck with a case until I get the person back on the road, there is no way that I’m going to obligate myself to a case that isn’t winnable.  In fact, just the other day I received a call from another lawyer about someone whose appeal I had previously declined to pursue.  This lawyer, who knows me and knows my practice, obviously got a different side of things from the caller, and when he found out that I had already turned the case down, suspected that there was more to it than he was being told.  After a few minutes on the phone, he thanked me for my time.  Several days later, I ran into him in court, and he again thanked me and breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t get sucked into that losing situation.  In his case, and to his moral credit, he didn’t want to take the guy’s money and not be able to do anything for him, which is kind of where I come from, except that my sense of morality also has a guarantee attached to it.  In other words, my guarantee keeps me honest.

Everyone needs a license.  I get tons of emails from people, many of them describing the hardship that goes along with not being able to drive, or the opportunities they have missed or will miss because they can’t.  The stories are compelling, but as I noted in a somewhat recent article about everyone “needing” a license, that couldn’t matter less.  A person becomes legally eligible to file a license appeal only after his or her revocation period ends.  An urgent need to drive, or a complete lack thereof, doesn’t affect this.  The problem is that sometimes, people contact me after having communicated with some lawyer, and either the person completely misunderstood what they were told, or the lawyer has no clue about license restoration.  Either way, most of these ideas involve trying some appeal to court, which is entirely impossible to begin with.  There is an understandable desperation these people feel, and they’d be willing to shell out just about any sum of money to get back on the road, or even to just “take a shot at it.”  I know better, and therefore won’t take the bait (or the person’s money), but in addition, I know that if I do take a case, I’m stuck with it until the person wins back his or her license.  In other words, my guarantee keeps me honest.

A rather large percentage of my DUI practice involves handling second time drinking and driving cases, meaning cases for people that have had a prior drunk driving a long time ago, as well as people facing an actual 2nd offense DUI charge. The reason for this is pretty simple: Those who have been through the process before recognize that my various explanations of the DUI process are pretty much spot-on, and have learned to separate what one wants to hear from what is true and accurate. There is, at least legally speaking, a vast difference between a 2nd offense DUI charge and merely going through the process for the 2nd time after a prior offense many years ago. A 2nd offense DUI charge is one, by law, that is brought within 7 years of a prior such case. Technically speaking, a DUI is a “second” if the arrest date for the current charge takes place within 7 years from the date of the conviction for the first. This does not mean, however, that everything is just peachy-good simply because a prior DUI falls outside of the 7-year window. Sure, a whole boatload of legal problems is avoided when your second DUI is not technically a “2nd offense,” but you still have to deal with the implications and reality of that prior offense, even if it cannot be used to enhance the penalties of the current charge.

ball-number-2-clip-art-free-vector-4vector.pngRecently, while attending a hearing in a driver’s license restoration case, a hearing officer redefined things for me and my client (who did win his full license back, by the way) after he characterized his 2 DUI’s as “mistakes.” She looked up, interrupted him, and said this: “Those weren’t mistakes. When you drove drunk the first time, you committed a crime. When you did it again, you became a habitual criminal.” That may sound harsh, but it gives a glimpse of how these cases are seen in the larger world. I’m sure one of the reasons I have such a robust DUI practice is that I am unique in pointing these things out, and speak rather candidly, if not at least diplomatically about these subjects. Avoiding real-world discussions and/or sugar coating things doesn’t help anyone. I have no tolerance for being patronized, and, in turn, have no inclination to do the same to anyone else. It is very easy for a lawyer to simply agree with the client (remember, the customer is always right) and not want to offend him or her, but the reality is that if you’re going to do anything good for a person facing a second DUI, it means you may have to get a little uncomfortable and tell it like it is. And it is this way: a person going to court for a DUI who has had a prior drinking and driving conviction is going to be seen by the Judge (and almost everyone else) as having, or as being at a substantially increased risk of having, a problematic relationship to alcohol.

I say this because most people who contact a lawyer for a second DUI, even if the charge itself is not a “2nd offense,” will want to explain that no matter how things look, they don’t have a drinking problem. If you sat in my chair, you could pretty much bank on hearing that in almost every such case, and usually as one of the very first things a person will say, at that. I understand this, but as easy as it would be for me to nod and agree, if I’m going to make things better for my client, then I need him or her to understand that you can say that until the end of time, but, in only a few exceptional circumstances, you’re not going to get the Judge to just go, “Oh, okay, well, I’m glad you cleared that up…” You don’t have to think about this too long or hard to realize that it doesn’t matter what you or I think. In the final analysis, it matters what the Judge thinks, and, when you think about that even a little, you begin to realize that nothing else matters nearly as much….
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As of the writing of this article, a new law is sitting on the Governor’s desk that will expand what a circuit court can do when someone appeals to circuit court after losing a driver’s license restoration case. Procedurally, you first try to win back your license by going through the license reinstatement hearing process wherein the Michigan Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Office (AHS) assigns a hearing officer who ultimately decides your case. In this article, We’ll briefly look at the change in the law, but then shift back to why, in the vast majority of cases, “appealing” to court after losing at the AHS is a waste of time and money. In my practice, I guarantee to win every case I take, so this new law has almost no potential impact on me or my clients, but there will no doubt be some curiosity, and, inevitably, quite a bit of confusion about it, so perhaps we can head off some of that misunderstanding.

index.jpgTo begin, there are a few things we need to get straight: First, to win a license restoration case, you need to prove things by what’s called “clear and convincing evidence.” The one-line short version of what that means is that after you submit your evidence and/or hold your hearing, you cannot leave the hearing officer with any unanswered questions (your evidence must be “clear”) and that evidence must show you have been alcohol free for a while, and that you are a safe bet (meaning “convincing”) to never drink again. The hearing officer is the person who decides if you’ve done that satisfactorily or not (that decision is the exercise of his or her discretion). Here’s the really important part: If a hearing officer denies a license restoration case and the person files an appeal in the circuit court, this does not make for any kind of new hearing, and no new evidence can be submitted. Instead, the Judge reviews the record (meaning he or she looks at all the evidence the hearing officer examined) and has to conclude whether or not the hearing officer’s decision was what is called “an abuse of discretion.” To put it another way, the Judge does NOT decide if he or she agrees with the hearing officer’s decision, but rather whether or not that decision is within the law. The legal standard for this kind of appeal is whether or not the decision is supported by material and competent evidence.

This means that a Judge can completely disagree with the hearing officer’s findings, but also not find any abuse of discretion or anything illegal about them, and therefore be unable to reverse them. Imagine Arnold Schwarzenneger and Hillary Clinton both run for President. In the first scenario, suppose Arnold wins, and the Judge loves him and even voted for him. However, when the Judge confirms that Arnold was born in Austria and NOT the United States, and that his election is therefore illegal, he must overturn the decision, even though he or she doesn’t want to do so. In the second scenario, assume Hillary wins, and a lot of people are upset about it, so they appeal the result in court. Even if the Judge doesn’t like Hillary and feels that she is the last person on earth who should get the job, unless he or she finds something illegal about her election, nothing can be done to undo it. This is the same thing that applies if someone tries to appeal a lost license restoration case. So what does the change in the law really do for someone who has lost a license case?
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As a Michigan DUI lawyer, I have to take any number of things into account when I handle a DUI case. Where the charge is brought is always one of, and often the single most important factor in how things will work out in any given drunk driving case. Because of the profound effect of location, I generally limit my DUI practice to the courts of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, although I will go to Livingston County on occasion, as well. As I thought about this topic and how to approach it for this installment, it occurred to me that the old idea of being “a fly on the wall,” so to speak, might help, so I thought I’d bring the reader into a few conversations had in the privacy of my office, with my staff, or in the confines of my car (hands-free, on Bluetooth), as I “talk shop” with a colleague who does DUI work in a different area of the state. First, let’s move into my office…

location-location-location.jpgMy practice (drunk driving cases and driver’s license restoration appeals) means that my schedule often changes by the hour. I may, for example, get out of court one morning in Clinton Township and call into the office as I walk to my car, only to find out that I need to come straight in because a new DUI case from Rochester Hills needed to be squeezed in. As I listen to some preliminary details about the new matter (and come to accept that I’ll have another protein bar for lunch), the first thing I’ll be told is where the case is pending. It’s that important. In fact, there are many local district courts where the same DUI case will play out differently depending on the specific Judge to whom it is assigned. If there can be different outcomes between different Judges in the same court building, you better believe there can be even greater differences amongst various courts. Accordingly, the 3 main rules of real estate are equally important in DUI cases: Location, location and location. Now, let’s get into my car…

If you could eavesdrop on any of the phone conversations I have with other lawyers about drinking and driving cases, it is just expected, and taken as a given, that any discussion about a specific case will at least begin by explaining where it is pending. I’d imagine that when emergency room physicians compare notes, it is important that they clarify what brought the patient in, like an automobile accident, gunshot wound, or sports injury. In the world of DUI’s the “where” is really the foundation of the case. Thus, you would hear a story that begins like, “I had this one case the other day in Sterling Heights,” or “I had this one guy in New Baltimore” (or Shelby Township)…” When Lawyers discuss DUI cases, they more often first talk about the court in which it is pending or the Judge to whom it’s assigned rather than the specific details of the case, unless they are highly unusual, and even then, it clarifies things to examine the case within the context of its specific location.
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As complicated as Michigan driver’s license restoration and clearance appeals can be, I wanted to try and reduce all of it to a few sentences. Accordingly, this article will be my attempt to boil down the essence of my license restoration section of my website and the 300-plus articles from the driver’s license restoration section of this blog into a simple, meaningful concept. To keep this article brief and interesting, we’ll start with that final result. The essence of a driver’s license appeal requires proving that you are not a risk to drink and drive again because you are a safe bet to never drink again, and have both the commitment and the tools to remain alcohol-free for good. Of course, this simplistic definition overlooks a lot of what goes into a license appeal case, but it does manage to capture the real “meat and potatoes” of a license reinstatement case and the Michigan Secretary of State’s governing rule. That official rule – Rule 13 – reads as follows:

simple.jpgThe hearing officer shall not order that a license be issued to the petitioner unless the petitioner proves, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the following:
i. That the petitioner’s alcohol or substance abuse problems, if any, are under control and likely to remain under control.
ii. That the risk of the petitioner repeating his or her past abusive behavior is a low or minimal risk.
iii. That the risk of the petitioner repeating the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by, or under the influence of, alcohol or controlled substances or a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance or repeating any other offense listed in section 303(1)(d), (e), or (f) or (2)(c), (d), (e), or (f) of the act is a low or minimal risk.
iv. That the petitioner has the ability and motivation to drive safely and within the law.
v. Other showings that are relevant to the issues identified in paragraphs (i) to (iv) of this subdivision.

By legal definition, then, winning a license restoration or clearance appeal involves proving to a Michigan Secretary of State Administrative Hearing Section (AHS) hearing officer, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that your alcohol problem is under control (meaning that you can fix a sobriety date appropriately far enough in the past), and that it is likely to remain under control,” (meaning that you are likely to never drink again). Yet for as simple as we can make this sound, the truth is that there are what I call “a million little rules” (many of them unwritten) that come into play in each and every license reinstatement case and that must be observed in order to assemble a winning appeal. As a starting point, however, the idea that you’re no risk to drink and drive again because you’re committed to never drinking again is perfect. As much as there is to this, if you can honestly say that have quit drinking for good, then you have the necessary “stuff” needed for me to guarantee that I’ll win your license back.
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This will be an article about “testing” in Michigan DUI cases. As a DUI lawyer who concentrates his practice in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I have watched testing as a condition of bond (release) and it has grown to become the normal operating procedure in most Detroit-area courts. As a term of DUI probation, testing (both breath and urine) has become almost universal. My inspiration for this installment is about half editorial and half informational; half of me is frustrated at the whole system and the sometimes unreasonable burden it places on people facing an OWI charge, and the other half of me wants people to understand this whole “testing” business, including, not coincidentally, the business of testing. The other day, a client called my office upset that he may violate the testing requirement of his bond. He’s a decent, honest guy, and his concern was that no matter how hard he tries, how much water he drinks, or how long he waits, he cannot provide a urine sample with someone watching him. This might be funny in another context, but not when his shy bladder has the potential to put him in the crosshairs of being sent to jail.

antibiotic-lab-test-400x400.jpgIn a recent blog article about how a DUI can just “happen,” I noted that an important part of my job as a DUI attorney is to play the role of diplomat, and help translate to each side what the other means, and why certain things are the way they are. This means that I have to explain to the client how things work, and why. Sometimes, there is no “why,” and things are just the way they are. On the flip side, (like in the case of the guy who can’t pee) I have to explain to the court how, despite appearances, my client is not simply disregarding its orders. This installment will be my attempt to explain the court’s side of things to the reader as well as providing an opportunity to vent some of my own frustration about the problems caused by all the “testing.”

It has been empirically validated that separating a person from alcohol is one of the best ways to help him or her get sober. It is also well known that DUI drivers, as a group, have a higher incidence of alcohol problems than the population at large. Given the automatic statistically increased risk of having a drinking problem DUI drivers bring with them, it is understandable that the court system likes to keep them away from alcohol. Of course, doing this flips the presumption of innocence concept on its head, but that is a very deep subject best saved for another time. For now, what matters is that many, if not most people arrested for DUI will be required to provide either a breath or urine sample during at least part of the time their cases are pending in court, and it is often a great big hassle that causes all kinds of headaches…
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