Interviewer: How many DUI cases have you handled in 2013 and how many do you think you’re going to get this year?
Randy Berman: My best estimate would be about 20 in 2013, but understand that I’ve been practicing criminal law for over 30 years. When I started out as a state attorney, I was assigned to a DUI court room. I’ve handled thousands of DUIs. How many I expect to get, it just depends.
In Palm Beach County, First Time Offenders Can Now Choose To Accept a Reduced Charge of Reckless Driving
With the advent of a new program that’s been instituted in Palm Beach County a little over a year ago, first time offenders can now opt to accept a reduced charge of reckless driving and not get a conviction so that the adjudication is withheld. That allows people charged with DUI to ultimately expunge their case and they avoid the DUI conviction. Other areas of Florida don’t have this option.
Any Driver Can Be Subjected to a DUI Charge
Interviewer: Is there a typical DUI defendant?
Randy Berman: No. People from all backgrounds, socioeconomic, race, it doesn’t matter. Anybody can drink too much and get behind the wheel and be stopped. It could be young, old, in between.
Interviewer: Have you seen that people’s habits and behaviors have changed now that the DUI laws have changed?
Randy Berman: Yes. When I first started practicing, it would not be difficult for someone stopped for DUI to get a break from law enforcement where if there was no accident or injury involved, the officer would routinely call a cab for the person, have them park their car in a legal spot and tell them not to come back and get it till the next day. That doesn’t happen anymore.
The policy of police agencies is now to arrest even when the individual isn’t falling down drunk
Are There Any Gender Differences That Impact a DUI Charge?
Interviewer: Have you ever noticed if there are any patterns that are different between men and women?
Randy Berman: No, but the typical case is where the person is stopped for a moving violation and because alcohol reduces your inhibitions because it’s a central nervous system depressant, people tend to drive more aggressively and more recklessly. They’ll speed; they might not come to a complete stop at a stop sign or when they are turning right on a red light.
It will get the officer’s curiosity up and that point they’ll pull you over for the infraction and then they’ll proceed to see if they smell alcohol or your speech is slurred and that starts the ball rolling for the DUI investigation.
DUI Laws Apply Equally to Both Genders Without Bias
Interviewer: Do you think that male and female clients have different needs? Do you work with them differently or do you work with them about the same?
Randy Berman: No. The law applies to everybody the same. The defense is always going to be towards whatever is going to be effective for that particular person whether it’s male or female. I don’t see any distinction between how they’re treated by the courts and I don’t treat them any differently in the way I defend them.
Interviewer: Do you think that the courts show a difference between men and women, any more leniency more so than the other?
Randy Berman: No. The courts don’t. Juries might. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to talk to the jury except if the juror wants to speak with you. I generally don’t want to put a juror on the spot but my experience has shown that women generally get more sympathy from a jury.