Interviewer: What are the top misconceptions people have when they come to see you that they happen to disclose when talking to you?
Eric: Well, interestingly, a lot of people want to hear from me, especially on their first DWI, they’re not going to go to jail. And, of course we can’t give everybody a 100% definite answer, but the majority, 99% of the first time DWI offenders, are not looking to go to jail. It’s important to calm them down about that.
And then it seems the next question that most people have is “what can you do about my driver’s license.” There’s very little in between that worries people, and we want to go through it and explain to them about how the license works, want to explain to them how their case works, keep them focused and help get through the case.
Also, the myth that you’re going to be scarred for life. That’s the goal we try to avoid, we don’t want to have these cases drag on forever. But cases of DWI nowadays, don’t go away in a week or two weeks. Maybe 25 years ago you can resolve a case in less than a month. Nowadays these cases take a little bit of time to accurately go through, get the paperwork, and help people just get through the initial shock and find out what can we do with your case to help you get out of this mess.
Interviewer: What have we learned about people’s behavior and their reaction of being arrested and going through the process? What human insights have you gained?
Eric: We find that most people go through the shock and the denial. And then people are all too happy, well, not happy, but all too willing to say, “Yeah, I know I made a big mistake. I was drinking and driving.” And again keeping in mind, it’s not illegal to drink and drive. And just because your accused of drinking and driving doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. It’s only illegal in New York State to operate a motor vehicle when your physically not capable of operating it and that’s because you are under the influence of a drug or alcohol or a combination of those.
So people find themselves in shock, then they want to confess and then they’re not sure what they should do. So we find that you got to keep your head about you, you got to keep your wits about you. It’s an unpleasant experience to be handcuffed and to go through this system, but panic is never the way to go. Don’t fight with the police officers and then, again, don’t be too cooperative with the police officers either. Just do what you need to do, contact an attorney as soon as possible, and cooperate with your attorney as quickly as you can.
By Eric Sachs