Thursday, November 20, 2008
Another entry in our continuing debate concerning the disciplinary consequences (or absence of consequences) of criminal conduct arising from an automobile accident comes from a hearing officer in Arizona, who has recommended dismissal of bar charges against an attorney who drove after consuming alcohol and prescription drugs. He began to feel ill, hit a wall and got a flat tire. He continued on and struck a motorcyclist. He continued driving and "was not consciously aware" of the injury accident. He was later arrested and pled no contest to endangerment, extreme DUI and leaving the scene of an injury accident.
The hearing officer concluded that the evidence failed to establish that the attorney "possessed a conscious awareness that he posed a danger to others or that he had been in an injury causing accident...The civil and criminal systems are adequate to address [his] conduct and the evidence here does not implicate [his] duties as a lawyer or fitness to practice law."
As we have seen, other bars would reach a very different result. It will be interesting to see if the bar appeals this proposed dismissal. (Mike Frisch)