The Future of DUI Laws

Noted California criminal defense lawyer Lawrence Taylor publishes an extremely well researched and informative blog about DUI defense.  You can find it at www.duiblog.com and I recommend it highly to both lawyers and DUI defendants.  While some of Mr. Taylor’s suggestions may not be applicable in Georgia, I always find a tidbit or two in each post and some of the DUI defense tactics that we use locally were pioneered by lawyers like Lawrence Taylor.

This past week, Mr. Taylor published a fascinating post called “The Future of DUI Revisited.”  In this post, he talks about the trends he sees in DUI lawmaking as well as enforcement.  Specifically Mr. Taylor observes that state legislators are passing laws that reduce the blood alcohol limits, while accepting less accurate measuring equipment for prosecution.  He also predicts that the federal government may get involved in DUI prosecution (yet another mis-use of the Commerce Clause, but that is a story for a different day) and that Constitutional protections for DUI defendants are being eroded.

Obviously everyone – citizens, DUI defense lawyers, and politicians – want to remove impaired drivers from the road.   The job of the DUI attorney, however, is to see to it that our clients receive fair and appropriate treatment by the courts.   Laws that punish defendants based on a blood alcohol reading based on machines calibrated for a 200 lb. man will not result in due process of law if you weight 250 or 350 lbs. or if the testing equipment was not properly calibrated.   Because the stakes in criminal prosecutions are so high, the state must prove its case and if the methodology utilized by the prosecutor is flawed, then your constitutional right to a presumption of innocence and clarity in the law will be compromised.

Mr. Taylor suggests that the intent of some of the anti-drunk driving groups is morphing into an anti-drinking focus more so than anti-drinking and driving.  Could the current trends in DUI law be the harbinger for a new prohibition?