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A True Double Standard: A Defense Perspective on the Inherent Unfairness in the Administration of the Impaired Driver Laws
By Eric H. Sills, Peter Gerstenzang
Due to the intense pressure placed upon legislators, prosecutors and
judges to wage war on impaired drivers — by interest groups such as
Mothers Against Drunk Driving — it is rare that a year goes by without
an increase in the penalties imposed for driving under the influence of
alcohol or drugs (“DUI”). This pressure, combined with the lack of any
organized lobbying on behalf of the drinking or drug-using driver, has
led to a true double standard in which the criminal justice system has
created two classes of criminals: (1) impaired drivers, and (2) all
The inherent unfairness in the administration of the DUI laws pervades
virtually every aspect of a DUI case, from the initial stop of the
defendant’s vehicle through the administration of the chemical test. In
addition, the courts routinely find that the use of so-called “civil
penalties” to exact extra punishment on DUI offenders (e.g., driver’s
license suspensions pending prosecution, che
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