Interviewer: My first question is, how long have you been practicing DUI defense and how many cases do you think you’ve handled?

Steve: I’ve been practicing DUI defense since I graduated law school. It’s been over 20 years. I received my training on how to defend DUI cases in Minneapolis, St. Paul, where I started to practice law at law school. At that time I was told, and I reviewed statistical figures, that believe it or not, in Minnesota they had more DUI arrests per capita than any other state in the country.

When I started to practice law there, I discovered that Minnesota was always in the forefront of the administrative per-say suspensions of the driver’s licenses and really on the cutting edge of the DUI law.

In terms of cases that I’ve handled, I would venture to say perhaps, definitely well over 500 cases, somewhere between maybe 750 cases to 1000 cases. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen all cases.

Interviewer: When did you move from Minnesota to where you are at in California right now, Napa Valley wine country area?

Steve: I’ve been in Northern California for 15 years. I’ve been practicing criminal defense law for 15 years in Northern California. I would say that’s a good estimation. I’ve been up in the wine country area for five years and full-time for the last several years.

Interviewer: You said Minnesota was at the forefront of, suspending people‚Äôs licenses for DUI. How about in California where you are now located. What’s the law like? Is it really harsh on DUIs or is it fair and moderate?

Steve: Let me say this, it’s not necessarily the law here in Sonoma County, it’s the law in the state of California. That’s a distinction I would make. It doesn’t necessarily vary from county to county. Where it does vary in some sense is in the criminal defense aspect of the practice.

With respect to the DMV, it doesn’t necessarily vary from county to county, but above all I would say it can vary in terms of the particular hearing officer’s in the local driver safety offices in each county.

What I would say is that one of my interests, a substantial interest in comparing and contrasting the systems when it comes to the government and how they treat their people with respect to driving under the influence of alcohol cases. They do that a lot, even today, on a day-to-day basis when I’m working.

By Steven Taxman

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