I often hear some really dumb things from prosecutors, but yesterday, I might have heard one of the dumbest things to date. It was in a DUI drug case where the prosecutor made a plea offer with no benefit to my client. I filed a number of motions, and yesterday was the motion hearing.
From the beginning, my client has wanted to plead. He just doesn’t want to lose his license for a year, which is the case with DUI drugs, so we asked for him to plead to DUI for being impaired to the slightest degree, a different subsection with a 90-day license suspension attached. It’s a case where the supposed marijuana use was a day before driving. My client is young and has no prior criminal history. The facts of the case as well as my client’s personal circumstances are very sympathetic. My client’s was a modest request at best.
The prosecutor’s response to why she couldn’t make my client a regular DUI offer was that there was no drinking involved. “There’s no factual basis for impairment or alcohol,” she said. Immediately, I asked, “so if my client had been drinking before he drove, we probably could have worked out a deal to a lesser DUI?” She seemed to think so, which led me to my next question: “should I then advise clients that, if they’ve ingested marijuana, they are best off also consuming alcohol prior to driving?”
My question resulted in a long, confused silence. Somehow, I don’t think her office has really thought its policies through.