Lawyers wear many hats including advocate, counselor and legal strategist. Often times, the many roles of a lawyer conflict with one another. Not so when it comes to advising DUI defendants to seek an alcohol evaluation and/or treatment. Not only does such a referral help the client on a personal level, but it assists the lawyer before both the criminal judge and the administrative judge (MVA hearing).
Every DUI defendant who consults with our law firm is provided a list of court certified alcohol education and treatment facilities. It is recommended that the client schedule an immediate appointment, answer the evaluators questions honestly and follow the recommendations of the counselor. If a person is deemed to have an alcohol dependency, in-patient and out-patient options will be discussed. Most problem drinkers will benefit from an out-patient program which may span from 12-48 weeks. In-patient treatment referrals are common for egregious cases and repeat offenders. The length varies.
If a person does not appear to suffer from alcohol dependency, a 12 hour alcohol education program will likely be recommended.
Why do it:
1) Many judges want to see an alcohol evaluation prior to the disposition of the case. If a private evaluation has not been completed in advance, the client may be at the mercy (sometimes good, sometimes not so good) of a county employed evaluator. The evaluation is done on the spot.
2) Often a judge will be impressed that a person has taken the initiative to address the underlying reasons he/she was arrested for in the first place. This could mean the difference in jail/no jail or points/no points.
3) Even if you think your case is defensible, sometimes prosecutors will dismiss a flimsy case because the prosecutor is satisfied that at least the underlying alcohol problem is being addressed.
4) Finally, I have never seen someone hurt by seeking help. It could make the difference the next time you consider taking a drink, or are drinking alcohol and reach for the keys.
So the answer is an overwhelming yes. Private alcohol evaluations and treatment before court will help you and help your lawyer help you.
For more information on Maryland DUI, DWI or drunk driving defense, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.