An all too common cause of accidents on the road is drunk driving. This is why the laws against DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offenders are harsh and strict.
However, alcoholism is a recognized as a disease and thus, in some cases those charged with a DUI who also can be proven to be alcoholic, may have an unusual means to fight charges.
Alcoholism involves an intense craving for alcohol that can be as strong as the need for food and water. Family, health, and legal problems are not adequate enough to convince an alcoholic to stop drinking and there are those who experience chronic alcoholism their entire lives. Alcohol abuse can lead to drunk driving. But not all drunk drivers are alcoholics.
Thus, the line between deliberate and more accidental drunk driving is a fine one. So if you are charged with a DUI, you’re next step will be to consult a DUI lawyer. Here’s what you can expect.
The responsibilities of a DUI Lawyer
A DUI lawyer has expertise on laws of the road and the particular crime of driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. He has a great deal of responsibility, especially if his client is an alcoholic or alcohol abuser. An alcoholic client may experience a car accident, but his or her illegal BAC (or blood alcohol content level) may have nothing to do with the accident. Proving beyond a doubt that a car accident is not the fault of an alcoholic motorist is a daunting task.
All lawyers, including those that specialize in DUI, are subject to strict standards of professional responsibility. These standards are found in the codes of conduct established by state associations. The specific rules vary from state to state, but the basic ethical and professional guidelines are standard. They are that:
1. A lawyer must represent his or her client ethically, keenly and within the bounds of the law.
2. A lawyer must competently analyze legal issues as well as exercise knowledge of the law that is applicable to the case he or she is handling.
3. A lawyer must communicate with his or her client in a timely and effective manner and treat his client as a member of a team.
4. A lawyer must be loyal to his or her client.
5. A lawyer must follow a client’s suggestions, unless they are illegal.
6. A lawyer must keep his or her client’s property separate from his or her own property and funds should be kept in an escrow account.
7. A lawyer is expected to keep all information about the case in confidence and should not divulge anything, except in some rare circumstances.
8. Depending on the law governing a state, a lawyer is likewise prohibited from having a personal affair with his or her client.
9. A lawyer can only represent a willing client.
Aside from the above, a lawyer may have other responsibilities and they depend on the ethical rules that apply in his jurisdiction. Any violation of these rules may result in disbarment.