Interviewer: Let’s talk about how people come to you and what’s on their mind when they talk you. So, first of all, this whole process is probably very frightening, but I’m sure people are probably frightened to talk to attorneys too. So, what do you think are some of the most common reasons that scare people out of talking to an attorney or prevent them from contacting someone like you to help them?
Freddy: Let’s say you get arrested for a case, whether that’s a DUI, driving under the influence or criminal domestic violence, where you had an altercation with someone or fight with someone and you have a criminal domestic violence case. At that point, everyone shares the same emotions. You’re worried about the case. You’re scared because you’ve already been to jail and you do not want to go back, at all costs. You’re frustrated because you either got into this fight or you got stopped for the DUI. You’re angry with yourself. You’re angry at the court system. You’re angry with everyone, but, very quickly after that, you’re worry turns to outright fear and preparation, saying, “I need to get an attorney. I need to get to someone who understands this.”
So, what most people do is they look on the computer, or they look on the phone book and they look for an attorney. They Google “DUI attorney.” For example, if it’s in our area, “DUI attorney, Greenville, South Carolina,” and that’ll bring them to a website and that scenario brings them to a website that says, “DUIattorneyGreenville.com” or “DUItrafficlawyer.com” and they’ll come to our site and they’ll read about us.
If they choose to go with us, they’ll call the number there, they’ll get me and I’ll tell them about what they may be facing in the case. Usually, it takes people a minute to mull it over and then they say, “Okay. I want some help.”
In a lot of situations, though, people don’t even need time. They’ve had restless nights. They’ve lost sleep. Four or five days have passed and they’re worried about themselves, their job, whether or not they’re going to lose their job because they got arrested, their children, what their spouse will say to them.
So, they’re very, very worried and concerned and they want the best possible person who can “fix it,” in their mind. So, they usually pick up the phone. It will make them feel better or I tell them about my knowledge and experience on the issue. I tell them what I can do for them and then, if they make the decision to hire us, we will go over the fees associated with their defense. Of course, we represent them and they can get a good night sleep then.
Embarrassment May Prevent People From Hiring An attorney for Their Defense
Interviewer:So, what is it you think it is that stops people from contacting you at all?
Freddy: I think that the fear and the frustration, also the shame of it. A lot of times, people are embarrassed. They’ll say, “Well, I went out the other night, with some buddies. I got a DUI. I was glassy eyed when they stopped me. I’m so embarrassed,” or, “I committed a crime that I shouldn’t have done and I’m embarrassed,” or in the case of the child or young person, they committed a shoplifting crime and they’re embarrassed.
So that embarrassment keeps them from making a call to someone, but, pretty quickly, and when you’re court date approaches, embarrassment gives way to need and the need that you have to call someone to protect you. So, we just try to make sure that they have all the information, they’re comfortable as possible and that we do everything for them so they don’t have to.
Interviewer: Is it typical for people to wait to the last minute, like the day before court to call you or will they usually call earlier on?
Freddy: Not typically. Usually, I’ll hear from someone who indicates that, and the two examples we use in our DUI cases and CDV cases, so, I’ll get someone in a DUI case who went out and got arrested Friday. That Saturday morning, after they get home, when they spent the night in jail, they’ll look online and send us an e-mail. We’ll contact them immediately and talk to them or they’ll call on Monday morning, right before work, or early in the morning and say, “Hey, I need some help. I’ve had a couple sleepless nights. I’m worried about this thing. What can I do?”
Then, I would say, only about 10 percent of people, 20 percent at most, wait until the day or a couple days before, before they get an attorney because most people are really worried about it immediately and they really want some help right now.
By Freddy Woods