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Bending the Law: Drunk driving excuses

9:31 AM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- "Where to go to look for answers, how to find the answers, and sometimes just be creative, and find new answers," said DUI Attorney David Robbins.

Robbins has found his share of answers.

A Jacksonville expert at DUI defense, he says after a new client is pulled over the process is painstaking.

"We begin looking for defenses from the very beginning. The legality of the stop, what was the reason for the stop, was it legal or not legal," he said.

Robbins says his first piece of advice is don't drive drunk.

But inevitably, thousands of people are busted each year.

DUI Defense is a multi-million dollar industry, and attorney's fight hard for a piece of the pie.

Some local websites brag about how drunk their clients were before getting them off.

Robbins firm spends thousands of hours researching impaired driving defenses.

His phone line is staffed 24 hours a day for clients pulled over at any hour, and he's willing to test out a new defense.

"What appears to be crazy to you, quite frankly, is not always crazy," he said.

Though he admits there are some wild ideas out there.

Just last month a clay County man claimed a squirrel in his shirt was to blame.

DUI attorney websites claim anything from braces to the South Beach diet can alter your blood alcohol level.

And old wives tails claim a broken arm, or a penny under your tongue can get you out of an arrest.

"The penny in your mouth is not valid, but there are issues with breath testing. When there's something in your mouth that will trap alcohol in your mouth, that is a legitimate issue," he said.

According to the Florida Highway Safety Commission nearly 60-thousand people are arrested each year for DUI.

Many of them convicted by the results of a roadside breathalizer test, which Robbins takes issue with.

But for people in the fight against DUI, those tests are judge and jury.

"I believe the intoxilizer is 100% legit, and if you blow over a .08 you blow over a .08," said Lunda Cason, a MADD Advocate.

Cason is an advocate with MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

She was the victim of a DUI crash in the 70's, and says her work with the program has defined her.

"I'm here, I'm alive, I survived. I like to think I survived because I'm meant to be doing this," she said.

She works with both the victims of DUI and the offenders.

And says the excuses she hears from lawyers about impaired driving are ridiculous.

"They're grasping at straws because they can't find anything legitimate out there. So you have to pull it out of thin air, whatever you can," she said.

Whether they have a lawyer or not, she says most DUI offenders find themselves in the same position.

"We hear 5, 6, 7, 10, 15-thousand dollars that they spend on that lawyer... well where are you now," she said.

Not to mention the cost of soaring insurance rates, fixing the damage, or jail time if someone is seriously injured or killed.

"Was it worth it," said Cason.

Ultimately, the people pulled over for DUI are the lucky ones.

In Florida more than 1,000 people are killed each year in alcohol related incidents.

First Coast News

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