I like being a lawyer. Every day, I win back driver’s licenses and help people get through DUI cases. I do real work, for real people. Virtually none of the work I do is theoretical, and very little of it involves pie-in-the-sky concerns or academic debates about constitutional law. Much like law school itself, those issues may exist on the periphery of what I do, but I spend my days in the trenches fixing actual problems. Rather than an intense analysis of driver’s license restoration or drunk driving procedures, I want to vent a bit about my frustration with “the law,” meaning those who do little more than talk about it, or, worse yet, don’t practice it, but make it, all the same.
Somehow, my email recently got hooked up with a boatload of legal news sites. Everyday, I get tons of emails about discussion boards, hot topics, and even some of the big news from the American Bar Association. When I see all this stuff, I have to shake my head and wonder who has time for all this useless drivel that amounts to nothing more than a lot of hot air. This reminded me that it was only a few weeks ago that we were endlessly pounded with the same kind of junk from all the politicians running for office. Now that the election is over, have you heard ONE thing about what any of the winners, or losers, for that matter, are going to do for you? In the span of four years, virtually nothing gets done in Lansing (or Washington) that ever helps me out, and I suspect you’re not much different. In fact, whatever does get done winds up costing me money. About the only thing I can think of that has had any impact on my life, and about the only thing I can thank the Michigan legislature for doing has been the legalization of fireworks. That’s it.
The legislature makes the laws. Every year or so, somebody gets the idea to “crack down” on something. I have watched, over the years, as drunk driving has become an easy target of stiffer laws, increased penalties, and easy attention, meaning publicity. Sure, this is good for my “business,” but my goal is to help people, and watching the legislature and other opportunistic politicians make a career out of doing nothing but pointing a finger and trying to solve problems we didn’t know we had frustrates me. Here’s a bipartisan thought; FIX THE ROADS! Instead of focusing on issues that actually affect us day-to-day, however, the attention focused on drunk driving has grown astronomically over that last 20 years: No one can deny that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had a dramatic effect on the public awareness of the dangers of driving drunk. Yet for all of this, and for all of the new laws and stiffer punishments that have been enacted, you’d think drunk driving would be all but extinct. The truth is that there has been virtually no change in DUI behavior. For all the effort, where is the big (or any) reduction in drunk driving?
And the upshot of all this racket about “getting tough?” About the only thing it has done is to add unnecessary complications to people’s lives. Hard-working people who never get in trouble for anything other than an incident involving having had a few too many cocktails wind up with no picture ID and dealing with restricted and suspended driver’s licenses. They have to pay oodles of money they could put more productively into the economy to courts, and, yes, lawyers, too. They have to do huge workarounds so that their employers don’t find out about this, or so that they can just get to work. They have to make special arrangements to get the kids to school.
I’d invite any of the talking heads who draft these laws to come spend a day with me and the people whose lives are turned nearly upside down by a single poor decision. At times, it seems that some Judges have lived too far away from the real world, as well. This isn’t so much a problem for most Judges, but you can see this play out when some Judge seems like the country club type. This is really the same thing that happens with politicians, but in reverse; a precious few bring real life experience to the job and try and fix things that really need fixing. Too many others are career politicians who have never held a job outside of getting fattened at the public trough, and therefore do not fully understand the implications of their decisions in the real world lives of real people. They have never had to hold a real job in the real world. Get real…
This article may be my chance to rail about that, but in the courtroom, at least, I have to be the ultimate diplomat. Can you imagine me looking at some hoity-toity Judge and saying something like, “Well, Judge, if you had the kind of job that penalized you for too much time off, then you wouldn’t make my client do this (or that)”? Instead, and I am exceptionally good at this, I have to interface between both worlds. I have to get the Judge to “feel” the effects of his or her decision on the person, and I have to get the person to understand that the Judge has a different perspective, and to at least see things from that perspective, even though he or she may never agree with or understand it.
Lawyers also do a good job of yapping endlessly. I have landed on a few lawyer’s website here and there, and I see a lot of words that ultimately ends up meaning nothing. How many ways can some lawyer shout in your face that he or she is “tough,” or “aggressive”? And what, really, does that mean? How about “effective,” “intelligent,” “tactful”? Those don’t sound as good, but they’d sure mean a lot more to me if I were looking at a lawyer. And while we’re on the subject, why do so few lawyers put out any useful information? I write blog articles with the intention of explaining things to people. In the process, I invariably wind up writing about myself a bit, but that gets old real fast. I could write forever about the various cases I have handled, but every case is different; instead, I try and give the reader a taste of how things actually work, from my side, the prosecutor’s side, and the Judge’s side, as well.
What’s my point? Nothing profound, really, but I felt I needed to get this off my chest. Maybe the reader can keep this in mind as he or she looks around for legal information about DUI or driver’s license restoration. Anything worth saying is worth saying directly. When you’re facing a DUI, you want it to go away. If it can’t be made to go away, then you want as many as the negative consequences as possible to go away. That’s all there is to it. That’s what I do. I could blabber on and on about that, but I wouldn’t be saying anything more.
In a driver’s license restoration case, you want to win your license back. All the experience and verbiage in the world don’t equal the end product of sliding a valid license back into your wallet. When I take a driver’s license restoration case, I guarantee that I will win your license back. For all the yapping we could do about that, there’s nothing more to say, and no better deal to be had.