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Using the “termites” analogy during closing argument at a drunk driving trial

During the trial of a drunk driving case, the defendant’s DUI attorney can use analogies and metaphors to help jurors understand defects in the prosecution’s case. The best opportunity for the DUI attorney to use a compelling analogy to its fullest advantage is during the closing argument. One example is the “termite” analogy. Here is how the DUI attorney can use this analogy:

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we have heard Sergeant Thompson admit that there were three “minor” problems with the administration of the field sobriety tests. First, the lighting conditions were not proper. Second, the three-test battery endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wasn’t followed. And third, the Sergeant failed to keep a record of the test as it was administered, but rather, from memory, wrote down the results of the test several hours later.

Now, the prosecutor will argue that these three errors should not cause you to have reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. The prosecutor will point to all of the other alleged evidence that he has to show that my client was driving under the influence of alcohol. What about these three mistakes? Are they enough to cause you reasonable doubt regarding the defendant’s guilt?

I would like to share with you a story to illustrate why these errors should cause you to find reasonable doubt regarding the defendant’s guilt.

When I was growing up, we always rented an apartment. We never owned our own home. Neither my mother nor father was well educated and each had an hourly wage job. But over the course of a number of years, they saved their money and when I was about 12 years old, they were finally ready to purchase their first home. They looked at many homes before they found one that they thought would be suitable for our family. It was an older home, but it looked well built, had plenty of room and a nice yard. My parents were ready to sign a purchase and sale agreement and to put down a deposit on the house. As we were going through a final walk-through, my father noticed three termites in a corner in the basement. He called them to the attention of the realtor who looked at the termites and with his shoe squashed each of them. The realtor then turned to my father and said, “The termite problem is solved.”

My father shook his head and said, “Those three little termites are but three examples of a much larger problem with the structural integrity of this house. They may seem small to you, but they signify a large problem to me. This is not the house for us.”

Just as those three termites signified a much bigger problem with the structural integrity of that house to my father, the three “little mistakes” that Sergeant Thompson admitted making should signify a much bigger problem with the structural integrity of the State’s case. That house wasn’t right for my father, and the State’s case shouldn’t be right for you.”

Crafting and presenting a persuasive closing argument at a drunk driving trial is one way in which a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney can help the defendant’s case.


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