Helping Drunk Drivers?

As a Montana criminal defense attorney and DUI defense lawyer, I often get asked how I can justify what I do. The person who asks this question always seems to think that I am making the world a more dangerous place for Montana drivers, by ensuring that dangerous people aren’t punished for their drunk driving. The answer to that question is complex, and has a lot to do about my role in a larger system.

That’s why I was glad to see Justin McShane’s post on the PA DUI Blog, which I think is a terrific answer to a tough question. Justin writes:

Please keep in mind this important fact, I do not make the decisions about who is guilty and not guilty of a crime.  Judges and juries make these decisions.  My only job is to present the facts of the case and ensure that the prosecution has met its burden of proof of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I have tried hundreds of DUI cases and not once has a judge dismissed a case just because they liked me.  Every single case that has been dismissed, withdrawn or found not guilty, has been because of a legal issue that warrants that action.

In reality, defense attorneys work hard to protect their clients from false prosecution.  If you doubt the dark reality of false prosecutions, please take a look at the Innocence Project and see how many people have been exonerated.  The nature of DUI cases and the heavy reliance on intangible evidence makes these cases especially prone to mistakes.

These are the things I try to remind people of when I’m accosted for what I do. Thankfully, any legal charges (especially for DUI), must be proven in a Court of law. My job is to represent my clients in the best way possible to make sure all their rights are protected and the state plays fair.

I sleep just fine at night, thank you very much.

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