Fellow Hawaiians and others who may have been arrested while visiting the
State of Hawaii, please read the article that follows. None of my clients
have ever told me they planned on getting arrested for
DUI. My clients care about their name, their reputation, their jobs, their
lives. Many of my clients are shocked to even be accused of DUI. Many
also have faith that others will see, and know, that they didn’t
do anything wrong. Many are confident that they passed the so called sobriety
tests. Realize this- The system will stigmatize you once that officer
makes the decision to arrest. Note the following from the attached article.
Look at the bias just from the start of the article. “The number
of drunk-driving arrests is down, so is the number of court cases prosecutors
are initiating, and there’s another legal threat looming just months
after refusing a breath test got a whole lot easier.” The reporter
another legal threat looming”. If there is “another” threat looming what was the
first “threat?” What the media is referring to as the prior
“threat” is the fact that the Hawaii Supreme Court said that
when an officer
forces you to provide breath or blood from inside your body, that is a search
and that the form used by the police was so coercive is was essentially
presumptively too coercive. The Hawaii Supreme court reminded all of us,
but most importantly the police, that a person arrested for DUI must make
a free, voluntary and uncoerced decision if they want to provide a breath
or blood sample. So, the “threat” the media speaks of is the
citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable, and uncoerced, searches
and seizures. In other words you have rights and the police were using
a procedure that coerced people.
What is the “looming” threat the media speaks of? Essentially
as another DUI attorney explains in the story, the form used has only
been slightly modified and it still amounts to coercion and certain members
of the DUI bar are prepared to challenge how the police are obtaining
breath and blood samples. So, in other words, there are some DUI attorneys
out there that are fighting because citizens still have the right to be
free from uncocered actions and the police are still employing coercive
means. The media sees the exercise of these rights as a “looming
threat” because, apparently, if the police are not able to use their
methods, currently under attacks as coercive, then they might not get
The article also laments “ The
breath-test changes created new hurdles to catching drunk drivers in Hawaii.”.
So, having the right to be free from coercion is a “hurdle”
for the police to overcome if they want those convictions? How about this
revealing viewpoint – “ DUI problems are an issue we’ve
been looking at for more than year, since we uncovered that more than
one in four of those arrested walked away with no punishment.”.
So, according to the media if more than “one in four” walked
away with no punishment after arrest that is a “problem”.
Why? Isn’t everyone presumed not guilty, innocent? Doesn’t
the government have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements?
Don’t the police and the prosecutors have to deal with all those
“hurdles” such as protecting people’s rights, following
rules of procedure, disclosing potentially exculpatory information?
As a side note some judges, who try their best to be fair, may also subconsciously
succumb to the belief that they must “fix” the problem of
drunk driving. That is not the proper role of a judge. They are to be
neutral and rule according to what is before it. Remember, if you are
charged with DUI you need a DUI attorney who will fight for you relentlessly.
See the underlying article.