Why No DUI/DWI Defenses? (and some advice for the falsely-accused)
I am frequently asked where the DUI/DWI section of the page is, or why I haven't presented any defenses in that area. The answer is two-fold.
First, the philosophy of this website is based on developing the skillset to free yourself from oppressive and arbitrary malum prohibitum laws, that is, relating to acts which are only illegal because the government has prohibited them (also known as "victimless crimes"). This obviously encompasses most non-felony traffic violations, since the laws therein are tailored to the lowest common denominator of skill and of vehicle performance. Under a less exploitive legal system than our own, law enforcement officers would only be authorized pull you over and issue a ticket for actually behaving recklessly (see the criminal recklessness standard).
In contrast, drunk driving on a public road with other drivers is malum in se, or inherently morally wrong since it endangers others. As such, it falls largely outside of the scope of this site.
The second reason this topic isn't covered is that I have never fought a DUI conviction. As an obvious consequence of this, I have zero first-hand experience in this area.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that drunk driving laws suffer from the same absurd one-size-fits-all approach of speed limits. Namely, they do not compensate for individual factors. To give a more concrete example, someone who rarely drinks may be more of a hazard at just below the legal limit than a long-time alcoholic at three times the limit, and the law simply doesn't account for this.
If you are falsely accused of DUI/DWI and want to represent yourself, here is my suggestion. Call your local court clerk and find out when some DUI/DWI trials will be. Assuming the driver didn't crash and hurt anybody else or their property, the courtroom portion of these trials typically takes less than a day. Anyhow, head down to the courthouse with a pen and a stack of paper, and take careful notes. Watch what types of defenses and issues the defense attorney raises. You can also learn a lot by watching the prosecutor. The prosecutor will ask the witnesses a lot of questions that may not, on their face, make any sense. Write these questions down and put some thought into them - they often represent strategic moves by the prosecution to dissuade the defense from raising counter-issues. And if you can figure out what these unraised counter-issues are, you can add them to your legal toolkit. After a few trials, you will have a pretty good idea of the common denominators present in all DUI/DWI defenses, e.g., making sure you repeatedly harp on all the signs of intoxication the officer did not observe during your traffic stop.
Finally, be aware that even refusing to take a breath and/or blood test can have serious consequences. Some states will actually yank your license for an entire year because of such a refusal, even if your license is not from that state, and even though these states do absolutely nothing to make motorists aware of this absurd and heavy-handed law.
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