Billboards warn Texas motorists “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.” Defense attorney Mimi Coffey has a billboard of her own. “Drink, drive – go to jail. Another government lie.” The Dallas Morning News says that as Mothers Against Drunk Driving has brought pressure to crack down on intoxicated motorists, Coffey publicly criticizing what she says are excesses in such campaigns. “It’s an atmosphere of terror,” said the Fort Worth lawyer who specializes in DWI cases. “Responsible social drinkers know the moment that they’re pulled over that they are probably going to jail, even though they’re not violating the law. The highway signs are telling them they will.”
Coffey wants the Texas Department of Transportation, which created the slogan, and other crusaders to stop putting out propaganda. Too many people have been convinced that a drink or two with dinner is a ticket to jail, she said.
Richard Alpert of Tarrant County district attorney’s office said it’s absurd to believe than anyone could misunderstand the slogan. “I really don’t think that any citizen of this state is confused about what driving while intoxicated is,” he said. “I’ve never met anyone who thinks that you have a drink, get in a car and drive, and you’re breaking the law.”
Local MADD officials have received several phone calls and e-mails complaining about Coffey’s sign since it was installed a few months ago. The group said that no one other than Coffey has been so aggressive publicly in attacking drunken-driving enforcement.