Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Conditional Admission Did Not Prevent Alcohol Abuse

An Arizona hearing officer has recommended a six-month suspension and probation for two years in a matter involving an attorney who was conditionally admitted to practice in May 2008. The attorney had entered the Bar's assistance program prior to admission and accepted terms and conditions for continuing participation that included abstaining from alcohol and mind-altering drugs.

In January 2009, she was found non-responsive behind the wheel of her car and arrested for DUI offenses. Things got worse in April 2009 when she crashed her car into a storage shed in a homeowner's backyard. She fled the scene but was followed and confronted by the shed owner. She denied responsibility and was reported to the police. When the police returned to her home and read her Miranda rights, she responded "Fuck you, I will not talk to you." She was convicted of alcohol-related driving offenses.

The attorney admitted to the bar treatment director that she had been drinking daily from January to April 2009 but invoked the Fifth Amendment to a series of questions at the Bar proceeding. The hearing officer found violations without any inference drawn from the assertion of rights. (Mike Frisch)


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