Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Heathy Response to Your New York DWI

Lawyers? An Overreaction, you decide? from

People accept (or reject) bad news in a multitude of ways, some just avoid it completely, as in denial, some get angry at themselves, and some get angry at others. Recently, a man in Plattsburgh, NY set himself on fire 2 hours after his DWI arrest. Now the man was 60 years of age, and I don't know the back story but overreaction to DWIs is not as unusual as you might imagine.

The Reaction versus The Response

I have seen the gamut of overreactions to first, second, and third DWI arrests ranging from drinking binges to suicide. I have seen people get new DWIs following pending DWI charges.

First, why? because once people think they messed up it just drives them into an even greater (deeper) depression. Hurting yourself becomes the norm. They feel at some level they need to be punished and self punishment is maybe more controlled and predictable.

I believe that Any "reaction" is bad AND it is far better to "respond" to YOUR problems. It may sound purely semantic, as in word games but taking response-ability is ultimately healthier.

Larry Newman, Junior psychologist?

Now before you label me amateur junior psychologist let me state for the record, I am not a psychologist, nor trying to diagnose mental disease of my clients but I do care about people. I want them to maintain a healthy perspective as to what they are facing with any DWI charge. Waste of life and human potential is so horrible to watch. Getting a DWI is not the end of your life. Yes it is a problem, a looming challenge, and there may be issues (some underlying) that will need to be addressed but overreaction helps noone.
Least of all, YOU!

Self Infliction of Pain, not pretty. from

Playing it Over and Over: The Broken Record of Pain

Some people get caught in the stages/cycles of grief (anger, denial, acceptance, bargaining, depression). They may cycle over and through these as with any "loss" or "perceived loss." I call it the broken record of pain. This is neither healthy nor productive. You are standing in place self flagellating (as in, stop hitting yourself).

So here is my take as a DWI Defense lawyer, four things you should keep in mind to best deal with your DWI charges:

1. There is no black and white DWI charge.

All DWIs come in shades of grey, discuss with your attorney where yours lies on the spectrum of cases and situations. Compare your situation to others to have a healthy context. Usually a DWI without people or property damage is better than one with it.

2. What is your true exposure? 

What is the worst case scenario? What is the best case scenario?
Is it jail? Is it probation? Is it community service? Is it financial? Is it your job? Is it your license? I other words what are you facing from the Court, the DMV, and your family/friends. Can you, will you face the worst and still surmount it?

3. What can "you" be doing to help your situation? 

Being proactive early can alleviate a lot of uncertainty. Taking ownership of your issues with your attorney is healthier than just giving your problem away to someone. I like the participant approach, you are better knowing about everything than being a mushroom in the dark. Whether the issues are health and/or legal related being a spectator dooms you to repetition.

4. Ask lots of questions. 

This approach to seeking answers aligns completely with the participant model. You may find that the Court will give you time to pay any fines or surcharges, you may find that the license loss is for a much shorter time period than you imagined, and you may find that jail/prison is not likely. After the attorney has all the facts, discovery, and documents they may find that there are viable defenses to your charges.

In the end, to "err is human and to forgive divine." 

I personally have learned and grown more from my "mistakes" than from all my "successes." Problems are deeply transformative if you allow them to be. I believe that your DWI can be another lesson and ultimately a blessing if you have a better perspective.

Larry Newman
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law