June 25, 2011

Are we making any difference at all?

Last Wednesday I was fortunate to attend a U2 concert at Raven's Stadium in Baltimore. It was a cool show but it was the third time that I had seen them so it lost some of its allure. Prior to the show however I was at Lexington Market in Baltimore City where I met a number of people. Interestingly the beer that we were all consuming was sold in pitcher sized plastic glasses that I had not seen before, no wonder people get drunk and get DUIs; heck there should be law against selling pitcher size glasses of beer that you could practically jump into and swim around.

Anyway, we struck up a conversation with a pleasant gentleman from Tennessee and his friend; he was enjoying a “grande cerveza” with us when the topic came up of the billboards all over Baltimore City regarding drunk driving and being a "loser" and the cost of a DUI of approximately $15,000.00. Wow, I wish the cost was anywhere near $15,000.00, it might make all the pressure, struggle, turmoil, public and judicial bias that we suffer as counsel defending these matters a little easier.

Be that as it may, the billboards in addition to indicating a $15,000.00 mistake also indicate that there were “24,000 losers” last year. Hmmm. That got me thinking, several years ago when I looked into how many DUIs there were in Maryland, the same figure was revealed, 24,000 people who were alleged to have made a mistake. Roughly 5 years later and where experiencing the same number of DUI infractions. That got me thinking about how many arrests there were for DUI 20 or 25 years ago before drunk driving became the "in thing" for the government to arrest people for. Back in the day when the legal BAC limit was .15 and the police didn't care if you had an open beverage in the car. I suspect the number of arrests was less and I suspect the number of fatalities was also less then what we have today.

Then I remembered what an officer told me last week in Montgomery County, Maryland; he said he was in court on his day off, that he had 9 cases that day, one of them was mine (which got postponed which means he has to come back again) and that he was getting over time for being there on his day off so he didn't mind being there.

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