As a Michigan DUI lawyer, I fully understand the emotional stress that comes with a drunk driving arrest. In many of my various DUI articles on this blog, I often focus on specific legal or technical aspects of drinking and driving cases. In this short article, I want to take a broader, more “feel good” look at the benefit of dumping all the fear and stress of a Michigan OWI charge onto your lawyer’s shoulders. In fact, I consider it an important part of my job to help people obtain some peace of mind right away. I’m certainly the only lawyer that I know of who makes clear that, almost without exception, a person is NOT going to go to jail in a 1st offense DUI case. I realize that part of the whole marketing tactic of some operations is to position one’s self as the savior of the thing a person fears most, but that’s not how I want to get my clients. I do, however, want my clients to come into my office with their concerns, and leave without them.
There is enough real stuff to worry about in a DUI case; going to jail, at least in 1st offense (and many 2nd offense) cases is not one of them. Among the things that will happen, however, is that some restrictions (although lenient and temporary), will be imposed upon the driver’s license, so concerns about how that will impact someone’s employment is a lot more relevant than worrying about a jail sentence that simply won’t be coming. Not exploiting someone’s fears is a good thing, and as much as I believe it’s my job to to help alleviate a person’s stress, there is another, opposite marketing approach that makes it sound like getting a DUI charge to just “go away” is a mere matter of dropping your money on the right lawyer’s desk. Everyone has heard the old saying that, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This is a prime, and often expensive, example of that concept in action.
Marketing research shows that the buying decisions we make are over 95% emotional in nature. This means that less than 5% of what we purchase is really based upon cold, hard facts alone. Of course, everyone of us thinks we’re different, but the bottom line is that unless you’re an emotionless Vulcan, like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, you’re not. How many ads would you read that contained no pictures and no graphics, but were just black words on a white page? Perhaps a company could prove, in those paragraphs, that it’s product was superior to all others, but they’d never get the chance, because no one is going to even notice, much less read a whole page of plain text the way they’ll look at a slick ad with color and pictures. Experts teach that the goal of marketing is to create a desire in the target audience. In the DUI world, we want to hear that the things we fear will not happen. So what does this mean to someone facing a drunk driving charge?
Obviously, the first warning is to not just get sucked into hearing what you want to hear. A DUI is already an emotional situation, so make a conscious effort to try and be as analytical as you can. Investigate. Read. Compare. Look for the lawyer who can answer your concerns without making promises that just sound too good. If you just call upon your more rational side, you will be alright. Think about being an informed shopper. The best thing anyone looking for a lawyer (or a new garage door or a new refrigerator or a good plastic surgeon) can do is take his or her time and be a good consumer. For all the stress a DUI can bring, it does not require the kind of emergency response that someone needs to survive a heart attack. For everything I can and will say – and anyone who disagrees with this should come under immediate suspicion – you should always take your time and exercise good consumer skills when looking for a lawyer.
Most of my DUI clients are people with much to lose if things aren’t handled properly. This type of person usually comes with a lot of questions about everything from professional licensure to driver’s licensing. It is a hallmark of my office that my staff and I are the proverbial hand-holders. It is in our very nature to reassure people, to be helpful, but also to be honest. I cannot, nor will I take a case and let someone go home under a false assumption. In a sense, it becomes my job to answer a person’s questions whenever they arise, but to also help a person NOT torture him or herself endlessly with “what if?” or “what about?” thoughts. A client should leave my office reassured and confident that I will (and I always do) work to bring about the very best outcome possible. I always explain things using a realistic best case, worst case, most likely case scenario.
When you have the right kind of communication with your lawyer (or CPA, doctor, or whomever), it should just be an “automatic” that he or she is behind the scenes, taking care of those things that matter to you, and the things about which you expressed concern. Yet even that is not enough; you need to know that your lawyer is also looking out for the things you don’t know about, but that can nonetheless cause harm to you in some way. In DUI cases, this often crops up with driver’s license concerns. Because the other part of my practice deals with Michigan driver’s license restoration cases, my ability to address and protect your license issues is unsurpassed.
In my practice, I expect to un-yoke my client from the heavy stress burden he or she carries. I want to send a person out of my office feeling better, and I know I’ve done my job well, or at least started to, when a person tells me just that as we shake hands at the end of our meeting. The real reward, however, for both me and my client, is when the case concludes, and he or she knows how much better things actually turned out as opposed to how they could have turned out. Success in a DUI case is always judged best by what doesn’t happen to you. It is important to me to be able to look a person in the eye and tell him or her that, no matter what, I will bring about the very best result legally and humanly possible. I want my client to know that I have his or her back, and that I can and will prevent all of the legal and practical consequence and fallout that can be avoided. At the end of the day, I don’t want my client to worry. I want him or her to leave that with me. I know where to put it and what to do with it…
If you are facing a DUI anywhere in Metropolitan Detroit area (in any Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County court), give my office a call, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We’re here to help, and can be reached at 596-465-1980.