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Address the Root Cause Immediately
Seeking appropriate alcohol treatment or therapy is a crucial step that many attorneys fail to address during the course of a DUI case. Many attorneys will thoroughly prepare all of the defenses that may be available to their clients, but will not address the root problem of how the client got to this point in the first place. The sad truth is that even though this may be your first DUI arrest and criminal case, there were probably countless other times when you may have driven while intoxicated. The odds were simply not in your favor and you may need help to either stop drinking or to avoid drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle ever again.
Your Drinking Decisions Changed For Life
We tell every client that the decision as to whether or not to ever drink again is a personal choice that only you, your counselor and your program can answer. However, due to the fact that you are in the legal system facing a DUI charge means that you can never again drink alcohol, even one drink, and get behind the wheel of a car ever again. Even if you are not a problem drinker or do meet the standards to be diagnosed as an alcoholic on the DSM-IV, EVERY client going through a drunk driving case can benefit from a substance abuse assessment by a highly qualified alcohol counselor. This could result in educational classes being recommended, outpatient treatment, or in extreme cases of alcoholism, inpatient treatment.
If You Have Hit Your Rock Bottom
We have seen clients that have hit their personal rock bottom finally admit that they had a problem and start with Alcoholics Anonymous (which has been using the same book with no changes since the late 1930’s) or another course of treatment or 12 step program. In terms of the court system there are many district court judges familiar with AA, the 12 step traditions, and the “Big Book”. This will involve attending meetings that will sign an attendance record, buying or downloading the Big Book, working the steps and most importantly, getting a sponsor that has had long term sobriety.All of these things will help you to demonstrate to the court system that you do not have an alcohol problem and are not a threat to the greater society.
Victim Impact Panels Reduce Recidivism
In addition to all of the substance abuse assessments, our firm will typically send clients to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel. These are routinely ordered by judges across the state due to the numbers that have been generated showing a low rate of recidivism or re-offending by those who have attended and been impacted by the stories they have heard. There are even online victim impact panels popping up on the Internet where you can watch videos of people who have had their lives changed by alcohol.
Preparation for Sentencing
Typically you will also be asked to provide a comprehensive list of accomplishments, work honors, and military service to present to the court if the case proceeds to sentencing. Many courts will do presentence investigations where all of this information will be discovered, but it can often times be used with a prosecuting attorney to differentiate you from others going through the DUI process. Another key to preparation for the pretrial conference has been mentioned already above but it is worth repeating…you MUST remain sober throughout the entire pendency of your case. The bond conditions that were metioned above are orders of the court and you will certainly see the inside of a jail cell if you violate these terms. Many courts will do random testing where you are assigned a color and you must call in every day between 5 and 7a.m. to see if you need to test before 9 a.m. We have unfortunately seen too many clients think that they would be “okay in the morning” after a night of drinking. Any alcohol that is left in your system and not dissipated will show up on a PBT and many judges will alert court staff to the odor of alcohol as well.