In part 7 of this article, we continued our examination of the role of the alcohol bias in DUI cases. I made clear that while just about any lawyer can tell a person what they want to hear in order to get a retainer, a good and honest lawyer won’t do that. As it turns out, there is a cost to telling people what they need to hear, and it’s calculable in dollars NOT paid by people who will buy into hopeful marketing techniques of those lawyers who make it seem like having your entire DUI case dismissed is just a matter of hiring them. Beyond the honesty and integrity of my team, I have a formal, post-graduate education in addiction studies that I use to protect my clients from getting slammed with unnecessary counseling and treatment. Because of what’s in our heads and in our hearts, my team and I just “know” certain things that we can’t ignore simply to make a buck.
For all my self-aggrandizement about my clinical background, the reason I have it in the first place is even more important than the formal education itself: the other half of our practice, directly related to DUI, is driver’s license restoration appeals, where understanding and proving sobriety is the absolute key to success. On that front, we know our stuff well enough to guarantee to win any initial driver’s license restoration or clearance case we take. In handling over 200 license appeals each year, we explore and hear, on a daily basis, how people recover from drinking problems. A person can only truly understand recovery when he or she truly understands how alcohol problems develop in the first place. To really see this, you must be able to look past the alcohol bias.
In a license restoration appeal, we have to go over every aspect of a person’s drinking, leading up to his or her decision to quit. We hear all about the struggles, the false starts, and the relapses along the way. Ultimately, we get to what finally worked for a person to get sober. This perspective gives us the benefit of 20-20 hindsight in seeing how people do, in fact, recover. We get to reverse engineer drinking problems, and how they got “fixed.” We hear people explain what did and didn’t work on their various journeys to get sober, and we hear the stories of what things resonated with people, and what didn’t. Much of what we hear – the things that actually worked – is very different from what those in the court system think they know. In that way, the alcohol bias is a filter that colors, and to an extent, distorts, the real picture.