In DUI, Drug, Domestic Violence, Or Assault-Related Cases, Is It Wise For The Defendant To Seek Pre-trial Counseling, Such As AA Or NA Groups?
Counseling or substance abuse treatment will always aid the accused both in understanding the effects of alcohol and controlled substances and in making a good impression before the court. If the individual is accused of multiple DUI’s, or if the DUI arrest involved a high blood alcohol content or accident, then I would recommend that they participate in as many self-help or AA meetings as possible and consider enrolling in a substance abuse treatment program. Other types of counseling can help in mitigating any potential sentence.
If Someone Knows They Are Guilty Or Just Wants to “Get It Over With,” Should They Automatically Plead Guilty?
Some clients often tell me during our initial interview that they just want “the quickest resolution,” but they don’t necessarily understand the consequences that can come with the quickest resolution. It’s not advisable to plead guilty without consulting with an attorney. An attorney can advise as to any viable defense or mitigating circumstances, which may be used to the individual’s benefit in obtaining a dismissal or reduction in charges, as a basis for pretrial diversion or as a defense at trial. By trying to resolve the case quickly, an individual might miss out on the opportunity for a dismissal, reduction in charges, pre-trial diversion or a viable trial defense.
There may also be collateral consequences of “just getting it over with.” For example, a guilty plea could affect a person’s immigration status, professional license, and may have a whole host of collateral consequences. Without consulting with an attorney, an individual might not know how they will be impacted by taking a quick guilty plea.
If Someone Has A Prior Arrest Or Conviction For Another Related Or Unrelated Crime, How Much Will That Play Into Their Current Criminal Case?
A prior arrest or conviction typically results in increased punishments or collateral consequences. For example, if someone commits a new offense while on probation, they may be subjected to increased charges, as well as a revocation of probation on the prior offense. A prior DUI conviction will also result in increased punishments, including the potential for increased jail sentences, increased license suspensions, and a longer DUI class.
A prior conviction and a new arrest may also render someone susceptible to immigration consequences, such as exclusion from omission, denial of naturalization, and deportation for non-citizens. I routinely refer non-citizen clients to an immigration attorney to discuss immigration-safe resolutions.
With regard to a felony conviction where the client previously served time in prison or suffered a strike, if convicted, the client will serve a lengthy sentence and has an increased likelihood of serving a sentence in state prison.
In the context of a fish and game violation by a commercial fisherman, a prior conviction with a new offense increases the likelihood that the fish and game commission will take action, in a civil proceeding, against the fisherman’s permit or fishing privileges, thereby affecting their livelihood.
What Is The Importance Of Having A Defense Attorney Involved Early On, Before A Case Is Even Filed?
It is important to get a defense attorney involved early on. In some cases, an investigation needs to happen in the hours and days following an arrest. Investigations are most fruitful when conducted immediately following the arrest. Waiting too long poses the risk of evidence disappearing and witness memories fading.
In the context of a DUI, an individual will need to contact the DMV within ten days to request a hearing. It is also important that when appearing in court, the accused has an experienced attorney with them who can provide an effective representation.
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