Interviewer: We’ve mentioned before that a majority of the time you’re able to help people, but how much of an affect can you have on their case? Do you have a dramatic effect? Can you frequently help reduce their charges?
Dale:: Yes, absolutely. For example, I may have a client come to me facing very serious charges. This person may have tested over the legal limit. They may have been videotaped and appear impaired. They might have insulted the police officer. In this case, my goal is to convince the court that for this person this particular episode was an aberrational event for them. They are not normally intoxicated.
That’s when I ensure that the client receives a drug and alcohol assessment. And ifthere’s any recommendations, they follow through on those recommendations before we ever enter a plea in the court.
Following those steps will keep the client from being under the control of the probation department.
The probation department has the authority to administer their own sentence. The client may be sentenced to only three days in jail. But under the authority of the probation department the client may have to undergo intensive outpatient treatment as a term of their probation, as well as being subject to random urine tests and weekly reporting.
That’s a significant amount of time.Appearing in court without representation can lead to a much stricter sentence and lengthy and expensive probationary term.
Interviewer: That is valuable information to have.
By Dale Naticchia