Monday , October 19 2020
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Covid and a DUI Lawyer

In March I, with the other members of the public, began hearing of a possible virus coming around. Covid 19 or Corona virus, both meaning the virus that presumably “escaped” from Wuhan, China was invading our country. Flights started getting banned, people started getting quarantined, and then suddenly, every-day items like bathroom tissue, paper towels and bottled water flew off the store shelves and became scarce.  Bars and restaurants were ordered by the government to shut down. Well, the obvious happened, there was far less drinking and driving. People not going out to socially drink reduced the number of DUI arrests. Combined with stand-down orders of police leaders to reduce the threat of invading jails with Covid-19, DUI’s plummeted.
The number of DUI arrests have decreased around 70% according to some statistics. It is ironic the amount of alcohol sales from state stores increased by over 20%! As the number of DUI cases decreased, Covid-19 has adversely affected the legal system as it limps along doing the best it can at providing people, both victims and defendants their chance in court. With masks and social distancing required, many stresses have been placed upon the legal system to remain fair to both sides of the litigation playing field. Many issues are yet to be decided; the right to a “public” trial is a constitutional right guaranteed by the state and national constitutions. Does limiting the number of people in a courtroom affect the accused’s right to a public trial? What effect does it have to the system of justice to allow the jurors to wear masks so their expressions on their faces are covered? What effect does wearing a mask have on one’s ability to do roadside field sobriety tests? It seems reasonable that everyone talking through a mask has “slurred speech”.
If you were handed a breath tube and asked to put it in your mouth and blow for a breath alcohol result, would you feel safe doing so considering the Covid-19 pandemic?
So, in my DUI world, many lessons have been learned and many more will be learned in the future as we pass through the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.
Phillip Price

 

Attorney, Huntsville Alabama

About Phil Price

Phil Price
Phillip B. Price, Sr. has been representing citizens charged with DUI in Alabama for over thirty years. He is the only attorney in North Alabama who is Board Certified as a DUI Specialist. He has represented more people accused of the offense of DUI than any other lawyer in North Alabama. His success rate is astonishing. He is only the eighth person in the entire country to be awarded the prestigious Erwin-Taylor Award by the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), the nation’s premier organization for DUI Defense attorneys. The award, which is the highest honor granted in the field of DUI Defense, was given to Mr. Price at the NCDD’s summer forum at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2012. He is a Founding Fellow of the NCDD. He served as Dean of the NCDD in 1997-98. He was the third attorney in the United States to become a Fellow of the NCDD. Mr. Price has been an invited lecturer in over 25 states, teaching other lawyers in various aspects of DUI Defense. He also instructs law enforcement officers how to perform better in their jobs of DUI enforcement. Mr. Price practiced law for many years with the late Macon L. Weaver, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Mr. Price served as president of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1992-93. Mr. Price is the author of the Alabama DUI Handbook (published by West®, a Thomson Reuters business) and has published many articles dealing with most aspects of DUI cases, including the subject of breath tests, field sobriety tests, jury selection and cross-examination. He is well known for his knowledge dealing with various breath testing instruments, including the Drager Alcotest MK III, Intoxilyzer Model 5000, and Alco Sensor IV. He owns each of these devices. He has taught courses on the operation of evidential breath test devices. In 1994, in a landmark decision, he persuaded the Alabama Supreme Court to throw out the Alabama breath test program. Even the definition of DUI as a crime in Alabama comes from a case he handled in the Alabama Supreme Court in 1989. He has been selected by his peers for Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers®. He has been received an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards. He has received a “superb” rating from Avvo™.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.alabamaduiattorney.com/


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