Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

My Last D.U.I.

Shootin' the Breeze

The catchy title has perhaps caught your attention and you are expecting to read a confession of my past sins involving Driving Under the Influence, i.e., drunk driving.

Your expectation is partially correct, but not in the way that it first seems.  This is not about me drinking.  It is about me defending drunks as an attorney.

When I was in law school, I prepared to be a trial lawyer.  In order to get into courtrooms, I took Civil Trial Practice, Criminal Trial Practice, Legalaid Internship, Moot Court, clerked for a judge, and spent two summers working for a prosecutor, including trying real cases under the supervision of licensed attorneys.  My first trial in that office was a D.U.I.  I won.  It wasn’t that hard.  After all, proving alcohol content is science, testing blood or urine of the defendant.

So, when I graduated and passed the bar, I had courtroom…

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2 thoughts on “My Last D.U.I.

  1. Your reason for not defending Clarence and your personal sorrow, shared with your friend for that horrific accident, really touches my heart. Sad to say, I’ve heard or shared the other side of the story — at least in part.

    When my relative was in her early twenties she and her then boyfriend and another friend were SO drunk. It was broad daylight, but they went flying through a STOP sign on a main drag in a small city and they hit and killed a fine, upstanding young man–likely a college kid–on his way to pick up family from the Bus Depot.

    R & boyfriend & friend were all out of the car dazed and stumbling around when the police arrived. This offense would likely have brought a charge of involuntary manslaughter to the driver of the vehicle — had the Law been able to determine who to pin it on. But there were no other witnesses and the three claimed they refused to say who’d been driving. The owner, R’s boyfriend, took the lesser rap (a vehicle-offense charge) and went to jail for a shorter stretch.

    R has talked a bit about this to me. It haunts her. She told me once how she so often sees that accident replaying in her mind. (So she wasn’t that drunk.) She says she longs to go to those people’s door and tell them how sorry she is that their son died. But how would they react? What would they say? But one thing she won’t do — and it binds her forever to that incident — is to reveal who the driver was. I asked her as kindly as I could one time and she replied, “No one will ever know.”

    I know people say, “And they just got away scot-free.” They don’t. They carry it with them forever, in their sober moments. (Though I do think coming clean would do a lot to set her free from this.)

    No matter what a good lawyer can or can’t do, there are no winners in scenarios like this.

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