This series of articles is about the most important part of any DUI case – the mandatory alcohol screening and pre-sentence investigation, or PSI. This is all about getting better results and a more favorable outcome if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving. When we began our inquiry in part 1, I explained that Michigan law for OWI cases requires anyone being sentence for a drinking and driving offense to complete a written alcohol screening. The results of that “test,” along with the other information gathered by the probation officer as part of the larger pre-sentence investigation itself is used to make a formal sentencing recommendation to the Judge. In the real world, that recommendation is pretty much the blueprint for what will happen to you, and the most effective and proactive plan is to make sure you are thoroughly prepared to do as well as possible during the PSI (thus procuring a more favorable recommendation), rather than just passively letting things happen and then showing up in court and trying to persuade the Judge to disregard the probation officer’s findings. Although that’s a losing idea from the outset, it tends to be, by default, the approach most widely used, perhaps because unraveling all of this takes a lot of effort. Despite the breadth of the undertaking, I did it anyway, and in doing so, have termed the whole PSI process as “the big 3,” meaning an examination of where you’ve come from (your past), where you are (your current life situation), and where you’re going (the sentencing recommendation). In part 2 of this article, we looked at where you’ve come from in terms of an inquiry into your past. Here, in part 3, we’ll look at where you are, meaning how your current life situation is assessed.
The whole point of a PSI, meaning pre-sentence investigation, is to assess a person to determine what kind of counseling, education, treatment and, yes, punishment, he or she should receive after a DUI in order to minimize the chances of him or her ever doing it again. As we saw in part 2, a person’s background, meaning the “where you’ve come from” part of what I call the big 3 of the pre-sentence investigation – where you’ve come from (your past), where you are (your current situation), and where you’re going (what should happen to you) – involves a detailed look at where to whom you were born, where and with whom you were raised, the important things that did (or did) not happen in your childhood, all with an eye to whether or not you are dragging emotional baggage and unresolved “issues” from your past into the present. As much as you may or may not be negatively affected by your past, and as dreadful or nurturing as it may have been, we all live in the present (although most of us know people who are kind of psychologically “stuck” in the past). Accordingly, an equally important part of the PSI assessment is to determine where you are in your life right now. Obviously, a big part of that is that you in the midst of dealing with a drunk driving case. In this third installment, we’ll look at how significantly your current life status impacts what will happen to in your DUI case.
Your status is important. In the real world, there is a kind of life currency called “social capital” that separates the “haves,” at one end, from the “have nots,”at the other, and is why things are different for the rich and famous than the poor and homeless We all have varying degrees of social capital, and it doesn’t entirely relate to money, either. Neither a Bishop nor a Police Chief are “rich” people, but they have a status (and therefor a certain degree of power) far above the ordinary. And while most of us are not rich and famous, chances are, if you’re reading this (as in on your own, or a work computer, tablet or smartphone), you probably have a good job to be able to afford and use these devices, and simply because you’re reading one of my articles, you’re almost certainly something of the analytical, cerebral type. My typical client has a good career and a good life, and therefore has much to be fearful of losing in the face of a DUI.