Saturday, January 27, 2007


Madison lawyer Rick Petri says he hopes there's a lesson for others in what happened to him early Thursday.

Petri found himself in the embarrassing position of going to the Madison Police Department to pick up a client who had been arrested for drunken driving, only to be arrested himself for the same offense.

"I did not think I was intoxicated, and I was wrong," Petri said.

Petri's client, former Dane County Board member Patrick DePula, 34, was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving at 11:46 p.m. Wednesday in the Downtown area, was given a field sobriety test and arrested at 12:07 a.m., Madison police spokesman Mike Hanson said.

Petri, 64, said he had been out that same evening, had a couple of drinks and went home about 8 p.m. to watch the Wisconsin Badgers basketball game. He said he made himself a couple more drinks, then went to bed.

He said his phone rang about 2 a.m. with a call from Madison police about DePula's arrest, asking if he could pick up DePula. Petri said the officer asked if he had been drinking, and said he could only come if he had no alcohol in his system, under Police Department policy. He said after a quick calculation, he was certain his blood-alcohol concentration was under 0.08 percent, the legal limit for drunken driving in Wisconsin.

"I thought I'd give it a shot," Petri said.

But when Petri arrived, he was given a preliminary breath test - which indicated a blood alcohol concentration of 0.09 percent - a field sobriety test and was placed under arrest for drunken driving.

"I can't tell you how humbled I am, how embarrassed I am," said Petri, who once prosecuted drunken drivers for the Madison city attorney's office and who represents in court people accused of drunken driving and serves as a member of other boards and civic bodies.


yellowdog granny said...

how do you know you've picked the wrong attorney?....
when he's sitting in the cell next to you.with identical charges against him.

dom said...

I'd definitely get a new lawyer