How To Win A Drunk Driving Case: A Primer For The Layperson.

How To Win A Drunk Driving Case: A Primer For The Layperson

by Andrew Mishlove, Esq.


America is a land of extreme contradictions: rich and poor, the freest with the most prisoners, and the most committed to liberty with some of the most repressive attitudes.

We certainly live in a very dangerous society. Handguns are one of the leading causes of death among young men.

People are afraid, and politicians prey on that fear. Legislation has been proposed in my state to legalize police highway checkpoints, already legal in forty states (a U.S. Supreme Court decision on this is pending at the time of this writing). HIGHWAY CHECKPOINTS!! Politicians always look for easy answers; but, they are often unwilling to make hard decisions to protect us.

There is no question but that one of the great sources of danger in our society is the automobile. More Americans are killed each year in car accidents than Americans died in the War in Vietnam. Most fatal accidents involve alcohol. But despite the vast war on drunken drivers, highway safety has not been dramatically improved. Politicians will always take the easy steps of increasing penalties and restricting individual liberty, rather than taking the hard steps of limiting the proliferation and legal immunity of taverns, and funding rehabilitative programs. The society that glorifies alcohol finds it easiest to deal with the damage by imprisoning the drinker. If the present rate of increase continues, within this century the majority of the population of the USA will be in prison.


The fact of the matter is that most people who are charged with drunk driving wind up being convicted. Most simply plead guilty in some sort of plea bargain. Some are convicted after a trial. Therefore, in any case, it is important to take a two-pronged approach. Both prongs must be worked at from the beginning. The first prong is consideration of the Six Key Factors, so that you can win the case. The second prong is preparing for sentencing, in case you lose or plea bargain.

Let's face it; you could very well be guilty. That doesn't make you an evil person. It means that you made a mistake. Learn from your mistake!

If you are an innocent person who is convicted despite your best efforts, don't be bitter and angry. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Your life will be better and all of our loved ones will be safer.

How do you learn from a drunk driving case? This brings us back to the beginning. It's easy. Get Help! Learn about alcohol abuse, attend AA meetings. Get counseling for your personal problems. Get an assessment to determine whether you have an alcohol problem and follow through with treatment recommendations.

Make this an experience that turns you into a better person, not just a person with a conviction.

Do it before the sentencing hearing. Do it before the trial. Do it right from the beginning of the case. Everyone who appears before a judge at a sentencing hearing (except, perhaps Mahatma Gandhi) says that he is going to change, that he will do the things necessary to become rehabilitated. That is not good enough.

Be the rare person who goes into the sentencing hearing saying that I have already done and will continue to do the things necessary for my rehabilitation. You will definitely be treated more fairly if you do. But more importantly, you will have taken a tragic difficult event in your life and turned it into a source of change for the better.


When the constitutional liberty of a single one of us is trampled in the name of public safety, we all suffer from a loss of freedom. I do not support drinking and driving. It is a reprehensible evil, just as is murder. But I object to the suspension of human rights that has occurred in the name of the unsuccessful war on driving while intoxicated.

In my state, which is festooned with saloons, a simple dram shop law (requiring tavern keepers to accept their responsibility for pushing alcohol on their drunken patrons) would do more than all the jail cells and highway checkpoints combined. But the legislature lacks the spine to stand up to the special interests.

This little handbook on drunk driving is, therefore, intended to be one man's statement in support of the right to be left alone, to be free of unreasonable searches, to a presumption of innocence, to a fair trial, a fair verdict and, yes, if you deserve it, a fair punishment.


If you've been arrested for drunk driving, especially if it's happened more than once, it probably means that you had an alcoholic beverage and then drove a car. That is a terrible error in judgment. Whether or not you believe that you need it, GET HELP!!

I'm insisting on this even if you are innocent of drunken driving. I don't care if you were stone cold sober, its stupid and dangerous to drink and drive. It shows a lack of knowledge and a lack of judgment. You could kill or maim yourself or do the same to someone's son, daughter, mother or father.

Stop and consider the consequences of a drunk driving arrest, which is inconvenient and expensive even if you win the case. Then, consider the price of a taxicab. It's a no-brainer. If God wanted you to drink and drive he wouldn't have invented the taxicab.

You also need to take an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you have a drinking problem. Whether or not you have a drinking problem, you need to get help with your understanding of the problem of alcoholism. Go to AA meetings. You may or may not be an alcoholic, but everyone can benefit from the advice and insights available at a twelve-step group.

So, even if you don't believe that you need it, get help! Use this challenge as an opportunity to improve your life.


Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem. Find a lawyer near you.

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