And, from the "I told you what would happen, but you didn't listen, and now you need some (more) help" files . . .
When I have a new Colorado Springs DUI client, one of the first things I counsel him to do is to enroll in a Level II Alcohol Education course (two that I really like are here and here) and at least twenty-four hours of community service through Front Range Community Service BEFORE we ever go to court. Why, may you ask?
From my perspective as a counselor-at-law, the education class could certainly help identify if the client has a substance abuse problem and could lead the client to finding help, which is a good reason just in itself.
From my perspective as a trial attorney, there are two other more mundane and practical reasons.
Those reasons are premised on the law: Colorado DUI law mandates that you must go to jail on DUI case unless you take alcohol education classes and complete community service. Although it happens, it is rare that a DUI case is dismissed outright. That means if you are charged with a DUI, the community service and classes are coming your way.
Why, then, should a client do the classes and the useful public service BEFORE he even goes to court? First, it just looks good. Just by doing those two simple things before a judge sentences a client, the client has separated him from 75% of the other people who are in the same situation. It makes the client appear more trustworthy and deserving of leniency. That's a huge benefit.
More important for me, though, is that if a client does the classes and public service BEFORE he goes to court, it is two less things to get screwed up later on. If the judge has the proof the client has done the stuff, there is no chance it gets misfiled, lost . . . or, more likely, forgotten or "blown off". Which brings me back to the impetus of the blog.
I had a client call me today in a panic because she got a letter from the court asking her to show cause why her probation should not be revoked. That's a fancy way of saying the judge wants to know if she's done what she was ordered to do over a year ago. When I asked before she was sentenced if she had done the classes and hours like I had advised her, her response was: "I've just been too busy lately. Don't worry, I'll get it done." When I asked this morning if she would fax me her proof so I could get it to the court, there was silence for a moment and then: "I haven't done it. I was so busy and then I just forgot."
It happens (more often than it should), and usually we can get the problem "fixed" before it gets out of control. And by out of control, I mean the judge could re-sentence the client to incarceration for up to one-year on a DUI probation violation. And while more often than not we do resolve the problem, it requires more effort, stress, and (of course) legal fees.
So, remember, "an ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure!"