Culture Code Part 2
A DUI prosecution is consistent with the unconscious meaning that most Americans have about alcohol. Clearly, every juror walks into a courtroom with deeply held beliefs, which at the unconscious level will control how they will process the information at trial, especially in a DUI trial. The juror’s impression of alcohol is that it is lethal or dangerous. In addition, the juror harbors an unconscious belief that the purpose for consuming alcohol is to alter the drinker’s state of mind, either by helping the person relax after a hard day at work or by intoxicating the drinker when “going out to party.”
The end result is that the juror has already concluded, even before the trial starts, that the DUI defendant was affected by the alcohol he or she consumed. To make matters worse, the juror unconsciously frowns upon the DUI defendant for drinking after driving, even if the juror himself has done precisely the same thing, that is to drive after consuming alcohol at a party, dinner, business meeting, political function, etc.
In light of the juror’s unconscious meaning about alcohol, it’s no wonder that a defendant in a DUI prosecution has almost no chance of prevailing at trial when the facts are presented in a manner consistent with the American Culture Code for alcohol. Even if the prosecution’s witnesses lied, or the testing procedures were poor, or the sciences were faulty, the inevitable conclusion will be, based on emotion and perception, that the defendant who drove after consuming alcohol was affected by it.
The juror may not like the lying cop or the government’s failure to operate a sound laboratory or the breath testing equipment, but the juror may fear more the lethal aspects of alcohol. Thus, the juror is not rendering a verdict on the facts, but rather on the fear of alcohol and the belief that it is better to convict an innocent person so that society might just get the message that driving after drinking alcohol is lethal.