Drunk, Clown or Just Itchy?

Drunk, Clown or Just Itchy?

I have represented hundreds of people for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and had, even more, people accused of DUI come into my office seeking representation. Then one day “Steve” walked into my office and told me a story. He was riding his moped when he came upon a DUI Checkpoint. He waiting in line and was singled out for suspicion of DUI. He was arrested and refused to give a breath test on principle. He was then taken to jail and charged with DUI. I assumed this would be like the countless DUI clients I have represented. However, as the video shows, none were like “Steve”.

I looked over the police report and then watched the same video you are watching now with him. After that, he protested that he was not drunk. In fact, he had not even been drinking. As I watched and re-watched the video, I kept asking myself “does he look drunk?” I concluded that he did not, and I think I can convince a jury that, although he was acting like a clown, he was not drunk. So, we did our pre-trial motions and prepared for.

I looked over the police report and then watched the same video you are watching now with him. After that, he protested that he was not drunk. In fact, he had not even been drinking. As I watched and re-watched the video, I kept asking myself “does he look drunk?” I concluded that he did not, and I think I can convince a jury that, although he was acting like a clown, he was not drunk. So, we did our pre-trial motions and prepared for the trail. Over the course of preparations, I discovered that Steve had a hard life and was down on his luck. In fact, the moped he was driving was not working; he was using it like a bicycle. Also, a few years earlier, Steve had an accident and it caused a severe head injury that left him partially disabled. As I got to know Steve better and watched and re-watched the video, I became absolutely convinced that Steve was not legally drunk on the night of his arrest.

The day of the trial, Steve got really nervous. The State Attorney offered to give him no jail time if he pleaded guilty. He was looking at a potential 6-month jail sentence if convicted. The trial proceeded, and the State Attorney played the video and thought that this was going to be the beginning and the end. How could anyone who asks a Police Officer over and over again to scratch his nuts not be drunk? The State Attorney went to put the video machine away assuming I would not want to show that to the jury again. I stood up and asked that they bring back the video machine, as I wanted the jury to see it again. As you watch the video, I told the Jury, keep asking yourself “is he more like a wise guy or a drunkard?” Let’s assume that on this hot summer night, after not bathing for god knows how long, his nuts did in fact itch. Let’s assume they itched really bad. Is what he is saying and doing consistent with someone who is drunk or someone whose nuts really itch? If he was drunk, don’t you think he would be unsteady? Slurring his words? Able to peddle a heavy moped with no motor?

 

Then I had Steve take the stand. He wore a suit and was shaven and very nervous. When I asked him about that night, the same guy in the video was the guy on the stand. He was silly, self-deprecating and a bit of a wise guy. But just like that hot summer night, he was not drunk, and he was who he was. We talked about his life and his injuries and the night in question. After just 2 hours of deliberation, the jury came back into the courtroom. When they announced NOT GUILTY the courtroom exploded. Steve hugged and kissed me. In his parting words to the courtroom, he said with the biggest grin I ever say, “now can I scratch my nuts?”

 

2017-12-21T06:54:01+00:00 DUI|
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