DRUNK LAWYER DRIVES INTO POLE, TRIES TO BRIBE COP; PENALTY: PUBLIC CENSURE

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York

Case: In the Matter of Unni Krishnan, (admitted as Kodampallil R. Unnikrishnan), an attorney

Date: Sept. 4, 2012

Punishment: Public censure.

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Queens; Queens accident lawyer)

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Following is a report on an attorney disciplinary case, where after criminal charges were resolved, he had to face the music before the Bar.

This attorney got drunk, lost control of his car, and had an accident when he hit a telephone pole. Then he tried to bribe a cop.

Of course this lawyer was arrested. He pled guilty to the bribe -- he tried to give the officer a $2,000 personal check and DUI; two misdemeanors. He got a fairly light sentence: jail for eight weekends, suspended driver's license (for one year) and probation.

The attorney disciplinary powers that be tried to have him disbarred (lose his law license) because, it claimed, he was convicted of a "serious crime."

Before the Bar, this attorney testified that he was shamed and disgusted by this accident and what he did to try to avoid responsibility, and that otherwise he had a clean record. He drank heavily at lunch, and drove home later that day. He claimed not to remember what happened, including the attempted bribery.

The Disciplinary Board conceded that any lawyer who tried to bribe a police office with a personal check must really have had his judgment impaired. It conceded that this attorney had acted out of character, and was not scheming to cheat clients.

He is punished with "public censure," which means the world is told what he did, but his life and legal practice can go on as usual. But he better not get in trouble again.

Seems like this lawyer got lucky in several ways. The result would have been far worse if he'd hurt or injured someone in an accident while drunk driving.

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