What I learned from defending a drunken driver

God governs justly

IT WAS THE TYPE OF CASE I normally would refuse. Close family friends had called to ask me to help their teenage son, who had just been arrested for drunken driving. I agreed to represent him as his attorney out of my love for the family.

It must have been love that impelled me because all the signs indicated that I should not take the case. I had never practiced criminal defense law. The local jurisdiction leads the way in cracking down on drinking while driving. Representatives of citizens' groups regularly sit in the traffic court to monitor the laxity or severity of punishment meted out by judges. Also, I had to overcome my own animosity toward drunken drivers. In the past, I had applauded every stern sentence.

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