December 2008

Received a big box at work today and didn’t have the faintest idea what it could be. Since it was addressed to me, I opened it up, and tada… two bottles of wine.

It was a thoughtful gift from Houston DWI lawyer Mark Bennett. I had done some local co-counseling of a DWI/POM case here in Austin for a client he was representing. Mark did all the heavy lifting; I just went along for the ride.


Of course, Mark didn’t just send me any 2 bottles. They were from an Australian vineyard and named “The Guilty” and “The Innocent”. I read the label of “The Innocent” first:


The Innocent is produced from a single vineyard. Due to its limited production only a lucky few will ever get to taste it.


Aha. Clever commentary on the sometimes overwhelming and unfair advantage the State brings to bear on those it chooses to criminally accuse? Expecting something equally clever, I read the other label.


Apparently only the “lucky few” will get to taste that one too.


As for Mark’s case? Well, the only disappointment was that after several settings on the jury docket the State eventually offered his client a deal that was too good to refuse: dismiss the DWI outright, plead to a lesser offense, no conviction (12.45) for the marijuana, and backtime credit, no probation, no community service, etc.


I had hoped to learn a thing or two by sitting second chair on the voir dire, if not the whole trial. Oh well. Maybe next time. And thanks for the tipple, Mark.

…is a bad idea.

I won’t link to it, but I just ran across an attorney’s web page that I hope was not written by him. (N.B. It was not an Austin lawyer.)


The website first acknowledges that in today’s world you need to drive: work, school, church, groceries, etc., and that one of the consequences of a DWI arrest can be loss of driver’s license, and then the attorney advertises that he will:


“effectively argue your need for a license at the ALR hearing”


In other words, hire me, and I’ll let the judge know that your license shouldn’t be suspended because you really need it.


Excuse me? Are you – that is, the lawyer, not the client – are you serious?


It’s not uncommon for clients to suggest that I should stress to the Administrative Law Judge that they really need their license, and perhaps if we demonstrate exactly how much they have to drive that they can avoid a suspension. Alas, I have to disabuse them of the notion that the ALR process is concerned at all about their essential need for a license; that’s what an occupational license is for, and those aren’t issued at the suspension hearing, or even by that type of judge.


Now it’s likely that the lawyer didn’t write the webpage content himself (see examples of comment spamming by marketers on blogs here and here). But you’d at least think he would have read it by now.