Friday, April 17, 2009

New York DWI Charge: Dealing with Grief

I have counseled and represented clients as an attorney for twenty years, and prior to that practiced as a Chiropractic Physician for another ten years. Over all this time I have noticed a parallel pattern between the stages of grief with those patients with physical illness, and those people who have been charged with the crime of DWI.

Do the people charged with DWI and other crime cycle through these stages to final acceptance?

Do some people get hung up on one or more stages in the process?

How can you better deal with a New York DWI or other criminal charge mentally?

What I Learned About Death and Dying Can Help Your DWI Charges

In college, I took a course called, "Death and Dying," it highlighted the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. In Ross' book by the same name she outlined five distinct stages of grief:

The five stages of grief Kubler-Ross identified are as follows:

1. Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
2. Anger (why is this happening to me?)
3. Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
4. Depression (I don't care anymore)
5. Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

People with DWI Grief Repeat the Same Patterns Over and Over and Over

Clients and patients rarely go through these five stages once but multiple times over the course of their treatment or representation. Sometimes I have seen clients cycle through all five stages in one day. I believe that part of my job as their lawyer is to help my DWI clients come to Acceptance of their situation, and be ready for whatever comes.

As they say "it is what it is." We must deal with the cards we are dealt. We can not undo the past or feel guilt over it. The emotions of anger, denial, and depression will lock you in self destruct mode. Beating yourself up will never allow you to move forward, and you most definitely want to move forward with your life. I have witnessed way too many people carry the heavy baggage of guilt around with them over something that occurred years in the past. Wallowing in self pity can never help you, and only leads to fearful thoughts of a dark future.

Acceptance of the DWI with Proactivity About Your Situation Allows for Powerful Growth

You know it is said "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Life challenges and these are very challenging times are there I believe for us to transform, grow, and learn. Life is a school better than college.

Acceptance brings power because it means you understand your options. Choices and options mean power and direction. It means we have analyzed and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of your criminal case, and your unique situation. Knowing what is potentially coming or possible ie. consequences, collateral issues, penalties, DMV issues, restrictions, and conditions allows you to prepare yourself mentally.

The best defense can only come to those who are "ready" for whatever comes. 

What are your best options with your DWI? 

Your choices will be highly dependent upon where you are, and where you are going. Not everyone wants to go to trial, not everyone has the same risk tolerance, and not everyone has the same goals. Becoming proactive, and taking action is always the best course.

Perceptions of your situation will change over time, recognize this. Put everything in context. Nothing is in a vacuum. Every case and situation is relative to another. I have been privileged over a thirty year period to see the entire spectrum of human problems, and the eventual healing that comes over the course of time and with action.

Have a Pending DWI: Acceptance was always the healthiest, saniest, and most helpful frame of mind.

Acceptance brings empowerment because you can see the bigger picture. It means your head is not clouded by anger, depression, or guilt. With acceptance your mind is now clear enough to make the best decisions. Fear of the unknown is cast out by the light of acceptance and that always comes with a sense of knowing.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

Reviews of Larry Newman:

Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers

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