I read an interesting article written by a journalist who served as a juror in a DUI case in Michigan recently. The author, like most people, went into the case with a “tough on DUI” stance, having faith in law enforcement “field sobriety tests“, and trusting the breath testing machine. Yet, a defense attorney who had taken the time to educate himself on the fallacies behind field and breath testing, and who had the knowledge and skill to apply his training to his client’s personal characteristics and the unique facts of his case was able to convince six skeptical jurors that the government had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The guy charged with the DUI was facing some severe consequences had he been convicted. He could have gone cheap and found any old attorney out of the phonebook to represent him for a small amount of money. He likely would have never seen his case fought, and certainly not with the kind of prowess that his attorney displayed at his trial.
Instead, he spent $10,000.00 on an attorney whose practice was primarily litigating DUI cases – someone who handled almost nothing but DUI cases and who cared enough to get specialized training in how to try DUI’s. He went to trial with the best and he got the result he deserved – not guilty. The journalist juror was shown that the field sobriety tests are designed for failure and that the breath test machine was not perfect. She quickly realized that her civic duty was to enforce the presumption of innocence and hold the government to its burden of proof.
With the wrong attorney, the defendant would have likely pled guilty to the DUI or lost his case at trial. When you consider the fines, fees, court costs, treatment, taxis, increased insurance costs, urine tests and time off of work, it would have been more expensive to hire a cheap lawyer. When the quality of your life is on the line, and your freedom, you cannot afford to hire less than the best attorney experienced in DUI defense. When the presumptions that prop up most DUI cases are exposed to the cold light of truth, jurors will follow the law.