We were tempted to publish a running tally of the cases we won and lost, but Rule 7.2(a)(3) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits lawyers from advertising specific or cumulative case results unless they can be put in a context that is not misleading. This is very tough to honestly do. For example, we could have lots of "teasers" such as the one below. However, the results in every case are the product of a unique mix of facts and procedure that are never duplicated. The following a real case, but our purpose in presenting it is simply to show that even hopeless-looking cases might have merit -- and so all cases require a good lawyer.
CAN ONE REALLY WIN A 0.33 DUI ACCIDENT CASE?
Can a law firm win a DUI case where the blood test result was over 4 times the legal limit and an accident?
Disclaimer: The following results based on these facts are not typical and are provided only to show that even hopeless-looking cases might have merit. Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by our firm.
On February 6, 2007, Albo & Oblon won a 0.33 DUI accident case in Arlington (Case No. GT06017455-00).
The evidence at trial showed that a police officer was dispatched to an accident scene where he saw our client parked in a nearby parking lot, slumped over the wheel. (The other driver was not injured). The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol and noticed that our client had slurred speech, had a loss in his train of thought, had poor balance (using his car for support as he stood), and said he had two bottles of vodka before the accident. Our client said he was not sick or hurt, but that he had diabetes. He was completely unable to do the One Leg Stand and Walk and Turn tests, despite attempts. He couldn’t say the alphabet from A to Z – he just said “a, b, c.” Since he was passing out as the officer tried to administer a roadside breath test, the officer had him placed in an ambulance. Outside the ambulance, the EMT hooked our client to an IV with saline solution and took him to the hospital. The officer followed the ambulance to the hospital, stayed by our client’s side the entire time, and saw that he was not given any medication or treatment. A nurse drew blood per Virginia law, which tested 0.33. (The statutory level in Virginia is 0.08).
At trial, we offered evidence that diabetes, in some instances, could simulate intoxication. We proved that there were two small, empty “airplane-sized” vodka bottles in our client’s car, explaining the odor of alcohol and the statement. And, we challenged the “chain-of-custody” of our client’s blood while he was in the ambulance hooked up to the IV.
The Court admitted the blood evidence, but agreed with us that it could not be given weight because our client’s blood could have become adulterated in transit to the hospital. The Court also agreed with us that, absent reliable blood evidence, our client’s impaired state could have been due to the diabetes and not alcohol.
The court found our client Not Guilty.
However, it is easy to be misled by lists of victories, such as this, because every case is unique.
For example, we "won" a case when a police officer retired from the force and didn't show up to court. And, we "lost" a different case where a client pleaded guilty to DUI but, as part of the plea agreement, we successfully persuaded the prosecutor to drop a related felony cocaine possession charge. Did we really "win" the first case and "lose" the second?
So how good are we? How do prospective clients judge the quality of our firm? Simple. They consider these five factors:
**** We are one of Virginia's largest law firms;
**** We feature five former Virginia prosecutors, one former police officer, and one former federal prosecutor;
**** We teach DUI defense law to other lawyers throughout Virginia;
**** The international, national, and local media -- who can choose any lawyer in the world -- repeatedly look to Albo & Oblon for opinions and commentary (Click here for a listing of our worldwide media coverage);
**** We have been listed as being among the Washington, D.C. area's "Best Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine (Dec. 2011); "Legal Elite" by Virginia Business magazine (2011-2006); "Top Criminal Lawyers" by Northern Virginia magazine (2010); and "Leaders in the Law" by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2010); and
**** Our firm has received the highest rating from Martindale Hubbell for legal ability and ethics (the "AV" rating and inclusion in their Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers).
Albo & Oblon lawyers take Virginia DUI cases very seriously and provide aggressive defenses.