Role of the DUI Defense Lawyer

by baronedefensefirm on May 7, 2009

The attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm have one goal in mind – WINNING! If we accept your case, we will try to win, and we will use all ethical means possible. Winning may mean several different things to different clients, and we don’t win every case, but we don’t lose for not trying. In fact, according the United States Supreme Court, a criminal defense attorney should, whenever possible, always do the following:

  1. Whether innocent or guilty, the most important role of a DUI defense attorney is preventing the conviction of his client. This role is above all others.
  2. Wherever possible, to fulfill this role the DUI Defense attorney should attempt to confuse the state’s witnesses, even truthful ones, and make them appear at a disadvantage and whenever possible, make them look unsure or indecisive.
  3. A DUI defense attorney must also seek to impeach the state’s witnesses who are telling the truth and attempt to destroy the state’s witnesses who are not.

Here is how top DUI attorney Bruce Edge sums up the role of the defense attorney:

Many of the ideas expressed by Mr. Edge come from the case of U.S. v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 87 S.Ct. 1926 (1967), where Justice White wrote the following:

  • Law enforcement officers have the obligation to convict the guilty and to make sure they do not convict the innocent. They must be dedicated to making the criminal trial a procedure for the ascertainment of the true facts surrounding the commission of the crime. To this extent, our so-called adversary system is not adversary at all; nor should it be.
  • But defense counsel has no comparable obligation to ascertain or present the truth. Our system assigns him a different mission. He must be and is interested in preventing the conviction of the innocent, but, absent a voluntary plea of guilty; we also insist that he defend his client whether he is innocent or guilty.
  • The State has the obligation to present the evidence. Defense counsel need present nothing, even if he knows what the truth is. He need not furnish any witnesses to the police, or reveal any confidences of his client, or furnish any other information to help the prosecution’s case. If he can confuse a witness, even a truthful one, or make him appear at a disadvantage, unsure or indecisive, that will be his normal course.
  • Our interest in not convicting the innocent permits counsel to put the State to its proof, to put the State’s case in the worst possible light, regardless of what he thinks or knows to be the truth. Undoubtedly there are some limits which defense counsel must observe but more often than not, defense counsel will cross-examine a prosecution witness, and impeach him if he can, even if he thinks the witness is telling the truth, just as he will attempt to destroy a witness who he thinks is lying.
  • In this respect, as part of our modified adversary system and as part of the duty imposed on the most honorable defense counsel, we countenance or require conduct which in many instances has little, if any, relation to the search for truth.

Mr. Justice White, United States v. Wade.


This post was written by...

– who has written 203 posts on Michigan DUI and License Restoration Lawyers.

Patrick T. Barone is the author on two books on DUI defense including the well respected two volume treatise Defending Drinking Drivers (James Publishing), and The DUI Book – A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding DUI Litigation in America. He is also the author of a monthly DUI defense column for the Criminal Defense Newsletter, published by Michigan’s State Appellate Defender’s Office. Mr. Barone is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he teaches Drunk Driving Law and Practice. He is also on the faculty of the Criminal Defense Attorney’s of Michigan’s Trial Lawyer’s College where he provides trial skills training to Michigan’s criminal defense practitioners. Mr. Barone lectures nationally on various DUI defense topics, and he has appeared in newspapers, on television and on radio as a drunk driving defense expert. Mr. Barone has been certified as an instructor and practitioner of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and has also attended a 24-hour certification course at National Patent Analytical Corporation (the manufacturer of the DataMaster) and has thereby been deemed competent by the manufacturer to operate, perform essential diagnostic verifications and calibration checks on the DataMaster. Mr. Barone is a Sustaining Member of College for DUI Defense. Mr. Barone is the principal and founding member of The Barone Defense Firm, whose practice is limited exclusively to defending drinking drivers. The Firm is headquartered in Birmingham, Michigan.

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