Monday, October 24, 2011

DWIs in the News or "Hey My Name is In the Paper"

Practicing criminal law and especially DWI defense in Ithaca and the surrounding Finger Lakes has given me a wider perspective on humanity. It's interesting that wider land mass with less people can create a more narrowly focused community. It seems like in each little town and village everyone knows everyone and of course every one's business. As they say, "getting up in my biz."

Newspapers publish the names and addresses (sometimes even pictures) of those arrested of DWI. While someone from Brooklyn wouldn't care, those who live and work with their neighbors may suffer from the embarrassment and humiliation of being labeled a "bad" person. Sometimes clients ask me whether they should tell (anyone) their employer, their spouse, or their insurance company about their DWI.

This may come as a surprise to some but legally you are innocent UNLESS proven guilty but in the Court of public opinion you are guilty TILL proven innocent. Can you ever prove your innocence about anything? It is after all proving a negative, that you did not do something. Hard as it may be to accept, you can not "make" anyone like you or change their mind once they have formed an opinion.

It is sad to say that even if your charges are reduced or dismissed, or you are found not guilty people will talk. That's what happens in small towns. I say move on, let the past be buried. They say that Time heals all wounds and I believe that that is true.