Getting stopped and charged with a crime like Long Beach DUI can be a harrowing ordeal. Even if you didn’t cause injuries or property damage — and even if the evidence ultimately exonerates you — damage has been done.
The problem goes beyond fear of the punishments and penalties – jail time, massive fines, huge spikes on your insurance rates, etc. It even goes beyond the more subtle “penalties” — loss of respect from peers and family, logistical problems stemming from loss of your driver’s license, fears about your own judgment and maturity, etc.
Sure, all those things matter. But there is another root problem that’s causing stress.
Here it is: You are attuned to hearing the judgments, guilt, name calling, and diagnoses of others – you accept these labels as “facts” about you.
Before we discuss this in detail, keep in mind that, as any Los Angeles DUI attorney will tell you, if you did drive under the influence in Long Beach, you have problems and obstacles in your path, and you need to approach them correctly and strategically.
On the other hand, it might be helpful to start to translate the judgments and labels of others into what famous psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg termed “feelings and needs.” Often, when people in our lives judge us or call us names, what they are really doing is expressing anger or frustration at their needs not being met.
For instance, say you told your aunt Suzie that you got tagged for driving under the influence in Long Beach. She snaps back something along the lines of “I always knew you’d be a failure” or something similarly hurtful. Now, you can hear her judgment as “the truth.” Or you can look deeper inside it and try to hear her pain and needs. For instance, why might she be in pain? Why might her hearing the news of your DUI spark that anger and judgment? Perhaps she recently had a scary encounter on the roads, and she needs safety. Perhaps she recently learned lost a friend in a DUI accident similar to yours, and she is furious and deeply sad about that.
When you start to listen to her and connect with her on this level, statements as judgmental as “you are the worst person in the world” become translated into things like “I am furious because I really need safety” or “I am enraged and depressed because I recently lost my friend to a DUI driver.” It’s very difficult at first for us to listen to people’s anger and judgments and translate them this way – it takes a ton of practice. But if you’ve recently been insulted or guilted or judged for your DUI, you might find it useful to sit down and really introspect on what that person what was feeling and needing and why.
This is important not just because it helps you humanize the other person but also because it frees you from internal judgments, which can perpetuate negative cycles. If you hear and believe judgments like “you are a criminal who will never get better,” you can internalize that message and act it out. If, on other hand, you hear the feelings and needs behind these criticisms, you may be inspired to grow and change and work to serve life.
As your Los Angeles DUI attorney will tell you, the challenges of being a defendant are immense. But opportunities for learning and growth are there, too. Connect today with the team at the Kraut Law Group in Long Beach for an experienced and confidential consultation. Attorney Michael Kraut of Long Beach’s Kraut Law Group (444 West Ocean, Suite 800 Long Beach, California 90802 Phone: (562) 531-7454 ) is a widely respected and highly successful Harvard Law School educated Long Beach DUI criminal defense attorney.