DUI is most often the result of a good person failing to exercise good judgment. Most people don't set out with the idea of "let's get smashed and drive!" Instead, they conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with the norms of society, but then they make a mistake and fail to act in a prudent manner. Think about it - drinking and driving is not illegal. (If it were, we'd have no bars or pubs, and a whole lot fewer restaurants!) What is illegal is driving while impaired. And, the burden is on the government to prove a person is impaired. In America, the person does not have to prove he or she wasn't impaired. Too often when it comes to DUIs, guilt is presumed - and that's just not how the system is set up to work.
I spent many, many years on the prosecution side of the courtroom as a Deputy District Attorney. I went on to become a Resource Prosecutor for the state of California in the areas of DUI, DUI Drugs and Vehicular Homicide. In that capacity, I became well versed in how the police catch and investigate DUIs and how prosecutors compel DUIs through an already overcrowded criminal justice system. As one judge once said to me, "Justice is just a byproduct of a system designed to move cases through. We can only hope justice is the result, becaues if we paused to do actual justice as a goal - the whole system would grind to a halt." Over the years I saw prosecutors, and it's usually young, new prosecutors who do DUIs, push marginal cases through with little thought as to the actual merits of the case. They were working toward their goals of "avoid dismissals" and "move up to felony cases." And, when there are thousands of DUIs coming through each year (over 15,000 in San Diego, over 16,000 in Orange County), it's not hard to see why they couldn't stop to focus on each case. "Besides, it's just a misdemeanor" is a refrain often heard.
Well, it's not just a misdemeanor to the defendant. Often, it is one of the most perilous events of his or her life. Most persons arrested for DUI have never been arrested or been to court before. It is a bewildering and frightening experience, and then to have his/her very personal matter handled as if it were just another widget?
I now use my DUI, DUID and vehicular homicide expertise and trial skills to help those who find themselves in a place they never imagined - under arrest and subject to prosecution. My goal is simple: to zealously represent my client and achieve for him or her the best outcome possible. As a prosecutor I took an oath to puruse justice. Today, as a DUI defender, I still seek justice for my clients. My clients are not widgets to be processed through a court system. They are people who deserve to be treated with respect, fairness and justice.