I have represented dozens of lawyers in Ohio charged with Ohio DUI / Ohio OVI. In fact, we always seem to have several lawyers as clients at any given time. Which begs the question -- why would these highly trained, superbly educated professionals in the legal community put their reputations and law licenses at risk?
Most of our lawyer clients are not chemically dependent nor are they alcohol abusers. They simply erred in judgment in choosing to drive after drinking (of which they may or may not be guilty of DUI in Ohio). Naturally, this profession is very stressful, contentious and lawyers work long hours. Alcohol is a quick elixir that fits comfortably in our social setting and is readily available. The consequences of drinking then driving may result in a DUI arrest in Ohio. These lawyers will be treated just like any other client. Unless a judge or another lawyer suspects the lawyer has a problem with alcohol, a single DUI arrest will not trigger any disciplinary proceedings.
However, if one of my attorney clients charged with Ohio DUI admits to me that he or she believes his/her drinking has crossed over the line, they cannot control their alcohol intake, their relationships at home and work are suffering, tor hey are having a hard time getting to work on time or doing a good job for their clients, then they probably have a chemical dependency problem.
Other questions I ask to screen lawyers and other professionals is whether or not they felt the need to cut down on alcohol use; if they ever feel annoyed when people criticize their use; if they ever felt embarrassed or guilty about their use; or, if they have ever used alcohol first thing in the morning. If they say "yes" to any one of these questions, then it is definitely time to get this lawyer some help.
In future postings, I will specifically talk about the steps we take to help these lawyers (as well as other professionals who share the same problem).