I was reviewing my material for a CLE presentation for the Tennessee Bar Association tomorrow. The topic I was assigned was the " Nuts and Bolts of DUI Defense ". One of the big mistakes that I witness among Tennessee DUI lawyers is identifying the issue. While I was at the Trial Lawyers College , one of the instructors asked me how I would hunt buffaloes. Would you use a rifle or a shotgun ? The takeaway point is if you are going to bring down a big animal . You want a laser guided scope on a rifle to bring it down. Much is the same in a DUI trial. Instead of fighting every issue , focus on the key issue that can bring home a not guilty verdict.
Here is a short list to help in identifying the issues in a DUI case ;
- What was the driving ? was there probable cause to stop the accused ? Was there evidence of good driving ? Physical control case ?
- Did the accused make a admission of drinking ? How many ? Duration ? Time of last alcohol consumption ?
- Was there physical evidence in the car ?
- Field sobriety Tests ?
- Was there a video ?
- How was their interaction with the police ?
- Witnesses ?
Once you identify the issue of the case , then you will be able to craft your theory of innocence. The key point is don’t shoot a buffalo with a shotgun . Find your one or two key issues and drive your point home.