Monday, August 17, 2009

Word Power in DWI Defense: The Shack, The Hut, and The RAMs

Yes They Do!

What's in a name?

Apparently a lot. I can remember in the 70s (yes the 1970s) when Radio Shack had a battery club for kids. They would give you a free battery (any size) once a month when you showed them your Radio Shack Battery Card. I grew up with Radio Shack. I built my own radio, thought my 8 track was state of the art fidelity, and knew how to hook up my cars with equalizers, power amps, and speakers. As to The Hut, well I grew up in Brooklyn, eating Pizza Hut, and calling it "Pizza" was an insult to every Italian on the planet. We used to say that's cardboard wit cheese.

What you name something definitely creates an image, an identity, and an emotion. 

Think of the words, the Defendant, versus the Accused, versus John. You can almost feel the charge on the words lessen as you go along.

My profession gives me a keen interest in words, whether on paper or spoken. I have a deep respect not only for language but for communication. How you say something is just as important as what you say. Saying, "I love my wife" or "I lovvvve my wife" can mean two entirely different things. Am I sarcastic? Am I sincere? Am I being truthful?

First Order of Business: Demon to Human

As a DWI trial lawyer, I first seek to humanize my client in the Courtroom. Because everyone else has him or her pegged as a Demon. He has a name, a family, a job, and a place in this world. For people on a jury to see him or her "like" themselves they must be able to relate (empathy is powerful stuff) to them. As in the sense of "there but for the grace of God go I." Could I be in his or her shoes right now?

To the Government and their lawyer (yes the dreaded "government lawyer"), also known as the prosecutor, or to some not so kind, the persecutor, they seek to dehumanize people. Much easier to call someone a criminal, a crook, and find them guilty if they are seen as less than human. Therefore, they are not at all like you and need to be punished for their mistakes. Perceptions are really what we are after, much like The Shack and The Hut want to change the public's perception. Who are these companies? Who are these people? They are nothing more or less than what we assign to them.

In a DWI Trial the opinion of the arresting officer is the State's evidence and proof. Do we agree with them when they say our client failed their tests? To me, The Field Sobriety Tests now become the Roadside Agility Maneuvers (the RAMs).

You can't study for them. Afterall, how can you really call something a test if you don't know what's on it or how it is graded or if it is scored with "clues."

Words can hurt, words can heal, and sometimes words can even determine guilt or innocence.

The 9 Most FAQ About NY DWI, here:

The New York Up State DWI Survival Guide, here:

Winning The NYS DWI Refusal Case, here:

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

Originally, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father was a NYS corrections officer, and my mother a waitress. I now live in Ithaca, NY with my wife (of 25 years), and four kids. I have a B.S. in Human Biology, Doctorates in Law and Chiropractic, and a Post Graduate in Acupuncture. I practiced as a Chiropractic Physician in Florida from 1986 to 1995. I graduated law school in 1997, and went on to practice trial law in FL, NY, NJ, and PA. I love practicing criminal defense and injury law within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Over 90% of the cases that I take on are New York DWI defense cases. I am certified as a breath tester by the Department of Transportation, the guidelines of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). I am certified in Field Sobriety Tests, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 550 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 520 informative videos on my youtube channel.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. Included in Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York are materials I provide clients, such as my fee agreement and ways to avoid misdemeanor probation. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.


No comments:

Post a Comment