Interviewer: So when you’re arrested, the event I’m sure is very scary. You may be traumatized, you may be exhausted from staying up all night if you’ve been in jail. So before it gets away from you, information about what happens, is it important for you to note down and have ready when you speak to an attorney so they can better help you?
Eric: We always find that half the people get over the trauma of being arrested. You know it’s very difficult to re-live it, but it is very important to keep in mind what happened, where were you coming from, where were you going, what did you do that night, who if anybody were you with, did anybody see what happened, did anybody in your car or anybody you’re aware of record this on their cell phone.
It’s very important because there have been times in the past, where we were not aware of, that a client or their friend had actually recorded the encounter with the police officer on their cell phone. And that was instrumental in defending their case and actually getting the case dismissed. So we’d like to have that information. And then of course to think about what it is that you may have had to drink, keeping in mind that it is not illegal to drink and drive. Otherwise, places would not have liquor licenses. So don’t be afraid to tell the lawyer what it is that you had to drink, when you had it, how much did you have, how did you pay for it and just re-live the night as much as you can, prior to having the encounter with the police officer.
Eric: And then after that – what happened when you had the encounter with the police officer, what did he say to you, what did you say to him, not even statements, just what conversation did you have with him. Was he nasty, was he nice, was she nasty, and was she nice? What happened during that time?
Eric: Did they ask you to go some place, did they ask you to get out of the car, did you get out of the car, as much detail as you can so your lawyer can close their eyes and can almost be at the scene with you, seeing exactly what was said and what went on. And it is from my point of view that that kind of information is so helpful in helping to defend these cases and actually getting a lot of these cases dismissed.
Interviewer: And you actually have a pretty extensive intake form that helps jog people’s memories, not only know all the details of their arrest, but also details in their lives that can help them out. Can you say anything about that?
Eric: Yes, in our intake form, what we do is, it’s almost like a diary. We call it a memory jogger.
Eric: Where during the form of the intake phase it can prompt to ask questions and those questions will help you remember the night and give us the answers, and that will then refresh the memory as to the next question and then the next answer. Those of us who try to put these things behind us, the intake form is very friendly, very easy to fill out, but again, it gives us the information that we can work together with the client, and that’s the big thing that we have here.
It’s a partnership where we work with the client, as to how to defend their case, how to help them. Much like a doctor would help their patient. And the more information we have in this memory jogger that we give to people, the easier and the better it is for us to find all the technical problems, all the legal problems, and all the deficiencies in the case that is being thrown at the person being accused of this crime or being accused of DWI.
Interviewer: People always hear on TV, ‘Anything you say can be used against you,’ but anything you say to your lawyer will be used for you.
Eric: It’s true. Everything you say to your lawyer is held in confidence and I’ve had a lot of people say to me, I’m taking medication, should I tell you about the medication? I say, “Of course.” I’d like to know what’s going on, whether you’re taking Xanax or Vicodin for instance. Is it prescription or non-prescription? Everything you tell me is between you and me.
And anything that I think is helpful, or may be helpful, I would ask the client, “Can I use that?” “I think that would be helpful to tell the judge or the prosecutor that this is what’s going on.” So, all the information that you give to your lawyer is always helpful to the lawyer. But not all of it, or any of it, is necessarily told to anybody else. But it certainly helps paint the picture of who the client is and what they were going through that night, and why somebody would appear, the way they did the night, when they’re accused of driving while intoxicated.
By Eric Sachs