…and sit back and enjoy yourself.

Bear with me. I promise to get back to that.

So, honest to goodness, I’m sitting here skimming through law blogs on my RSS reader reading a Scott Henson comment on a Sentencing Law and Policy post that links to a Texas District and County Attorney Association thread about how to enhance a repeat and habitual DWI offender and I come across none other than this observation by Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley:

Does your reluctance come from thinking he just has a drinking problem? There is nothing in the disease of alcoholism that forces a person to drive after achieving a drunken state. The decision to drive, especially after 11 prior convictions, is a selfish decision to endanger innocent people.

And I say to myself “I should blog about this”. Not because I disagree, but precisely because I agree, at the very least in part. Driving While Intoxicated, especially when it reaches the 3rd offense Felony DWI level in Texas, is highly correlated to the disease of alcoholism.

Yet, many alcoholics have no DWI convictions. Because they don’t drive after drinking.

Most DWI lawyer blogs rant about the unfairness of punishing an alcoholic for being a victim of his disease. I’ve never done that. [A quick search of this site shows no previous hits for the word ‘alcoholism’ – although, after I finish writing this entry will come up.]

Bradley has a point that a lot of ‘DWI bloggers’ ignore: the State is attempting to punish the choice to drive while impaired, not the inevitability of the alcoholic voluntarily intoxicating himself. I’d put it differently than he does – and after all, that’s understandable, I’m a defense attorney not a prosecutor.

It’s a touchy subject at best though for me. I have clients who read my blogs, and obviously when I post something, they’re not completely out of my mind. There’s nuance in this subject too. If I write about Bradley’s comment, should I start proving my defense lawyer bona fides, you know, ‘just in case’. But defense lawyers aren’t pro-crime. I should blog this. Contrarian by nature, I put it on my blogging to do list.

So I postpone a decision on whether or not to riff on this subject, probably out of laziness more than anything else, and move on to one of the next items in my RSS reader. It’s The Adventures of Steanso’s latest post.

The woman indicted for Intoxication Manslaughter in the death of Jeff Wilson passed away of cancer before standing trial.

Jeff was one of the most liked people in the Travis County Courthouse. He was a misdemeanor prosecutor for a few years, and was eventually hired by top notch defense attorney Joe Turner. He was a local Austin blogger as well. And he was a friend.

To heck with it. 

Lots of DWI lawyer websites dispense ‘advice’ on how not to get arrested and/or convicted of DWI (don’t blow in the machine, don’t do the tests, be polite but say as little as possible, etc.). I’ve never written a single word on the subject, mostly because I think it’s plain silliness. For one thing, potential clients don’t need that advice: they have already been arrested. If you’re going to be their lawyer, you’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.

For those who are trolling the internet, looking for ‘How To’ advice about beating your future DWI… there’s only one good piece of advice: don’t drink and drive. No, it’s not actually against the law in Texas to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. But never driving after consumption of alcoholic beverages is the only way to ensure that you’ll be safe from arrest.

If you need more reasons, I’ve said it before: it’s cheaper to rent a helicopter to fly you home than to get arrested for DWI – and no, I’m not just talking about my fee.

As for the title of this post that I promised to get back to? Here’s the entry from my other blog last July entitled In Memory: Jeff N. Wilson 3/4/74 – 7/10/06

Thanks to Steans for reminding me of the anniversary.

When I came back from the memorial service last year, for some reason, I set the card that was passed out at the ceremony on the shelf next to my computer. It’s still there. I read it every once in while.

It’s from Blogo-de-Wilson, and I think it might have been his best post ever. On learning of Billy Preston’s death, Jeff wrote (in part):

59 is young, folks. You only get one shot at this life. Don’t waste it. It could be gone any day. Travel. Blow some money. Go see some music. Make some music. Kiss someone on the mouth (preferably someone who won’t sue you).

Read a book. Write a book. Whatever. Just don’t take it for granted. No one lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office.

Grab Let It Be (preferably on vinyl) tonight, and sit back and enjoy yourself.

Humor. Joie-de-vivre. Totally Jeff.

The twins turn one tomorrow. When it comes time for me to have the father-son(s) talk about Carpe Diem/Seize the Day/Make the Most Out of Life… I’ll tell them about Jeff. Hopefully, I’ll still have the card to show them too.

That card is getting a little dog-eared, and the boys are still more than a decade away from driving, or for that talk. But oddly, their birth is actually inextricably linked to Jeff’s memorial in my mind. I had spent about 36 straight hours at the hospital and came to the ceremony still wearing the ID bracelets on my wrists that would eventually allow me to prove I was the father and take them home.

Steanso said it best already: Jeff, you are missed.