Thursday, August 17, 2006

DUI: "Defending" Under the Influence

A judge in Las Vegas ordered a blood-alcohol test for a defense attorney who was slurring words. The judge then declared a mistrial and declared the attorney too tipsy to effectively argue his client's kidnapping case.

According to AP, via the New York Times:

''I don't think you can tell a straight story because you are intoxicated,'' the judge told Joseph Caramango as she declared a mistrial for his client.

Caramango, 41, acknowledged in court that he was drinking the previous night, but maintained he was not drunk. If convicted, his client faces life in prison.

''I don't believe I've committed any ethical violation,'' Caramango said Tuesday, disputing the accuracy of the breath-alcohol test. ''If it proved anything, it proved I was not intoxicated.''

Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt announced Caramango had a blood-alcohol level of 0.075 percent. Nevada's legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.08 percent.

In an exchange recorded by courtroom video, Caramango arrived about 90 minutes late for trial and was slurring his words.

The judge asked if anything was wrong, and Caramango said he suffered a head injury in a rear-end car crash while driving to court.

One of my favorite parts of the news account is the following:

Caramango also identified a woman who accompanied him to court as his ex-girlfriend, Christine, but when questioned by the judge the woman identified herself as Josephine. She said they just met about 20 minutes earlier at a bar and coffee shop.

Classic. Somehow it is apparently "not immediately clear if [Caramango will] face discipline by the State Bar. Check out the lengthy video clips below and see what you think.

More links:
Legal Reader (hat-tip)
Court TV (complete with LENGTHY VIDEO excerpts)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Busted For DUI? by Carson Danfield

DUI laws are quite complex and vary from state to state. For example, California DUI Laws are so strict that the state leads the nation in DUI arrests. There were almost 200,000 people arrested for DUI in California alone last year. When a person is arrested on DUI charges in Florida, he has approximately ten days to ask for a hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to protect his license from being confiscated permanently.

Most people think that if they get pulled over for DUI, and are below the legal limit, that the officer will let them go or they will only be fined and not charged. Actually, an arrest for DUI can be made at any blood alcohol level.

The physical evidence of drunk driving includes slurred speech; inability to perform normal activities like standing, walking, or turning; red, glassy, bloodshot eyes; dilated pupils; and odor of alcohol on the breath.

Some DUI defense attorneys report that breathalyzers used by law enforcement do not accurately measure alcohol -- and thus may produce falsely high "blood alcohol" readings. Additionally, diabetics with low blood sugar can have high levels of acetone, which is "seen" as alcohol by breathalyzers.

If convicted, the DUI can render the defendant financially, socially, and psychologically impoverished and impaired. However, it is possible to have DUI records cleared in almost all states.

Many people charged with DUI want to know what a DUI attorney can do for them.

A well-qualified and professional DUI attorney can help to minimize the severity of DUI records and in some cases they can eliminate your DUI records completely.

A DUI attorney can check the case against you for errors, have samples independently analyzed, move to suppress certain evidence, arrange for expert testimony and witnesses, contest license suspensions and negotiate reduced penalties and sentences. DUI attorneys have to be knowledgeable and well versed in subjects such as blood analysis, breath tests, drug recognition evaluation and urine tests.


Any misleading statement by the police regarding the consequences of taking (or refusing) a blood, breath, or urine test can cause the suspension to be reversed and removed from the driver’s record.

Think all policemen are 'officer friendly'? Think they're all honest? Think again. I've known several policemen in different parts of the country and you'd be surprised at some of their 'tricks of the trade' that they routinely utilize. Keep in mind that these cops were personal friends of mine and bragged about some of the things they did -

A) If you want to cause problems for a driver you've pulled over, cite him for DUI and write in your report that when asked for his registration and proof of insurance, the driver seemed confused and disoriented. The fact of the matter is that most everyone stores these documents in their glove compartment, along with lots of other papers and miscellaneous junk. Of course, it will take anyone a couple of minutes to find the requested papers, but reporting that the driver appeared confused and disoriented will go a long way in convincing a judge that the driver was indeed impaired.

B) If a cop wants to make some extra cash, he'll check the record of anyone he pulls over for drunk driving. If the driver has had previous DUI convictions, he's the perfect target for a big cash bribe. He's given the choice of being cited for a second or third DUI, or he can pay a 'fine' in cash, directly to the cop. Given the choice of heavy DUI penalties or paying the cop, many drivers will fork over the cash.

C) Sit outside of a banquet hall that's used for wedding receptions. In almost all cases, there's drinking going on, so whenever anyone leaves, pull them over, threaten them with a DUI citation and then offer to let them go if they pay the fine right now.

There are other money-making routines the cops use, but I think you get the idea. When a cop pulls you over, you're at his mercy.

Since I've had several cops, from different parts of the country, brag about doing things like this, I have to conclude that such practices are not just isolated cases.


A police officer must have specific and supportable facts to support any arrest for DUI, or the suspension will be reversed and the evidence suppressed at trial. In simple terms, you shouldn't be pulled over for DUI just because you're driving a red sports car.

There are many ways you can fight a DUI charge and win. To find out more, visit

4:30 AM  

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