Kevin O’Brien Jr, Director of Legal Services, and Derek Andrews, Senior Attorney, recently gave a presentation to students and parents of Manlius Pebble Hill School. Below is Kevin’s account of the event.
Derek Andrews and I both gave a presentation at for the Manlius Pebble Hill School on the dangers and consequences of DWI, DWAI Drugs and distracted driving. Prior to Derek and I speaking, Officer Andrews of the Dewitt Police Department and a representative of the Onondaga District Attorneys Office spoke on the same subject giving their position on this issue.
Derek started the talk with the students and parents from local high school driver’s education classes by telling the audience that we agreed with most of everything that was already said. DWI and distracted driving is a very serious issue and while we want to help people charged with crimes, we would love to see this particular crime go away. Derek went over the issues that someone can face by simply being charged with the issue. The fact that even a simple case can end up costing someone up to $10,000 by the time everything is done; there can be long lasting license issues, issues with college or their future employment, and the most important risk, that someone could legitimately be injured or killed.
After Derek spoke, I began my portion of the presentation. I reiterated some of what Derek had said but I also wanted to let them know that I had the unique perspective of having prosecuted, defended, and having been charged for this crime. I offered to answer any questions that they had regarding the process from my various perspectives. I also made sure that I let them know that while this is a serious issue, there are rights that they have as citizens of this country and they should be aware of to be ready to use if they need them. As young drivers, it is my belief that they are more likely to be pulled over late at night if an officer sees them. They have a very clear and enforceable right to an attorney and if they don’t like the way that the interaction is going they should refuse any questions, refuse any tests, and clearly ask to speak with an attorney before doing anything additional.
While we would all love to see DWI and distracted driving end, it is important that we don’t sacrifice our most important rights in an effort to combat those issues. Not all people arrested or pulled over have done something wrong but all people have a right, and I encourage them to use it, to an attorney and to not provide evidence against themselves.
It was a great honor for Derek and I to speak to these students and their parents. They all seemed very engaged in the process and asked great questions. As attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys we are always trying to find new ways to help our communities, provide education from a different perspective, and address issues that are facing us all. I’d like to thank Bob West who ran the program for asking us to speak and for the work that he is doing to address this issue.
Kevin O’Brien, Jr.
Director of Legal Services