This article will admittedly be a bit sarcastic. As part of my DUI Practice, I’m in Court almost every day in Macomb, Oakland and/or Wayne County. I sit shoulder to shoulder with many conscientious Lawyers fighting hard to reduce the consequences of a lapse in judgment that results in a person being Arrested for Drunk Driving. We compare notes and exchange information. No one laughs these cases off and talks of having it dismissed like some speeding Ticket where the cop doesn’t show.
No one, at least, except those trying to sell that very idea. And those operations are making a lot of money at it.
Time and time again, I meet with a new Client, often for a 2nd Offense DUI, who is a bit concerned and reticent about the whole DUI Lawyer thing because, they admit, they spent $5000, or $10,000, or even more on the Lawyer who handled their 1st Offense DUI and sold them the “we’ll beat this thing…” bill of goods.
Am I a bit jealous of the huge income these slicksters make in this racket? Absolutely. Would I ever do such a thing just to make money? Absolutely NOT.
The truth is, I think I’m as good a writer, if not significantly better, than anyone behind those operations. If I wanted to, I could devote my efforts to crafting the most convincing-sounding blogs and web pages around, and stand back and cash in by selling the notion that if you really try, you can beat almost any DUI. But I won’t do that, because it’s wrong.
Which is not to say that beating a DUI is impossible. Far from it. I knock out a DUI anytime I have a case where it can be done. It’s just that, statistically speaking, it’s unlikely, at least in most cases.
To prove my point, I “googled” the phrase “cure cancer.” Sure enough, there are plenty of smooth operators out there with all kinds of products you can buy for just that purpose. From vitamin cocktails to holistic lifestyle overhauls, if you’re willing to spend big money on a long-shot hope, there is someone out there willing to cash in.
The analogy doesn’t end there. If you think about it for a moment, this means that all those hard-working Doctors treating cancer patients are either deliberately ignoring the vitamin-cocktail cure for cancer thing, or they’re just plain stupid. Instead, the inquiring mind is asked to believe that it is this handful of snake-oil salesman who really have the answer, not the medical community at large.
Do you really believe that?
Unfortunately, enough people do to keep these vitamin-cocktail operations in business.
The same holds true in the field of DUI defense.
In another article, I once noted that if there was any truth to the “we can beat almost any DUI” thing, then absolutely none of the rich and famous would EVER be convicted of one. In fact, if all it took was a stack of cash and the right Lawyer, every celebrity out there would just pay up, Lawyer up, and get out of trouble.
Instead, almost daily, we hear about some celebrity or other being put on Probation as a result of a DUI Arrest. And whatever else, that class of Client isn’t looking for any “bargain” when hunting for a Lawyer. “Best price” isn’t part of their selection process.
In my Practice, I most often meet with those who feel they were “fleeced” in their first DUI as we explore the details of their 2nd Offense. Whatever else, despite the King’s ransom they paid for a Lawyer, that 1st Offense DID NOT just go away. Their money did, of course, but not the charge.
This kind of ties back into the notion of people being more responsive to what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.
Beyond the fact that the rich and famous wind up on Probation for DUI’s just like everyone else, a little bit of homework can go a long way as someone tries to figure all of this out. How many stories are out there where the rich and famous “beat” a DUI charge? As I observed earlier, if it was just a matter of paying the money, there would never be a person of means who didn’t just buy their way out of a DUI. And how much do you think some Hollywood celebrity is paying for a DUI Lawyer, anyway? Do you think they’re surfing the web looking for the lowball, discount DUI Lawyer?
Curiously,, most of these “we fight every part of everything to YOUR last penny” operations give out just enough information to expose themselves, if you look hard enough. Some keep a kind of tally, or “blog,” if you can call it that, detailing their “successes.” Every month a few new “success stories” are added to the rolls of the DUI’s they’ve “beaten.” The more analytical reader will soon begin to question exactly what percentage of cases these posted “successes” represent. How many cases DON’T get “knocked out” for every one that does? If 50% off all their DUI cases manage to get “knocked out,” then how many do they handle every month? How could they manage to stay in business if they only handled a few cases every month? And how happy are those Clients who forked over a boatload of money, buying into the dream that the whole DUI thing can be made to go away, only to find themselves convicted of everything with which they were charged?
How happy are they? I can tell you, from meeting so many of them, they’re not happy at all, and I have to bear the brunt of their understandable skepticism about the whole Legal industry and the Lawyers that run it. These Clients will tell me, albeit with no small amount of trepidation, that my blog articles seem rather honest, and genuine, but then again, they’ve had that experience before.
I then have to clearly, but diplomatically point out that my information IS different; I don’t sell anyone what they want to hear. Instead, I only promise to be truthful, and in that sense, I may get stuck telling a person exactly what they DON’T want to hear.
There is no shortage of things that can compromise a DUI case and result in a successful challenge to the evidence, or the ability to beat it or otherwise get it knocked out. Amongst the most common, the following should always be carefully considered by the Lawyer as a DUI case is investigated:
- The Legal reason(s) for the Traffic Stop
- The Field Sobriety Tests
- The weather conditions when they were administered
- The Road conditions where they were performed (wet, snowy, sloped, uneven…)
- How they were demonstrated
- Any condition the person has which might affect their ability to perform them
- The Breathalyzer Test
- The maintenance of the Datamaster (Breathalyzer) machine
- Potential sources of chemical contamination of the test sample
- Any medical conditions the person has (think acid reflux) that could impact the accuracy of the sample analyzed
- And about a million other things
The plain fact of the matter is, however, that most of these cases are routine. Most people DON’T have acid reflux. Most people are well over the limit when they’re stopped, and really don’t do very well on the Field Sobriety Tests. Hoping for and betting on (i.e., paying for) some long-shot hope that there is some fatal flaw in the evidence that will just cause a DUI case to crumble is just that; a long shot.
In fact, rather quietly predicated in all the “we can beat this IF you pay a ton of money” sales pitches is that those tests that were administered somehow are wrong, and are making a person who didn’t have a bit too much to drink look like they did. In other words, the idea is that a person who really WASN’T over the limit shouldn’t be falsely convicted.
Yet very few people show up in my Office claiming that they weren’t at least a bit “tipsy” at the time of their Arrest. Sure, I’ve helped extract some people who have been charged with a DUI when they were not, in fact, “under the influence,” but those have always been the exceptions rather than the rule.
I can repeat this mantra all day long; the cruel irony is that in their quest to buy into what they want to hear, many hopeful souls facing a DUI won’t ever get far enough to read this, or any of my other blog articles, opting instead to click on an ad offering to make a DUI charge, and a pile of money vanish into thin air. And while I toil away in service to a conscience that prevents me from cashing in by offering to take someone’s hard-earned cash in exchange telling (and selling) them what they want to hear, those who have no such problems are, well, cashing in….
In the final analysis, however, at least I have never had to endure the wrath of an angry and disappointed Client who says, “but you told me…!” Instead, by being honest, and by telling my Clients what they need to hear, as opposed to what they want to hear, I can turn to them and say, “that went just like we thought; no unpleasant surprises.”