In Part 1 of this article, we had an overview of what it means to get “the least amount of consequences possible” in a DUI case. As we ended that general discussion, I observed that “the least amount of consequences possible” really means “the least amount of consequences possible in your particular case.”
In this second part of the article, we’ll examine what that specifically means.
As an example, earlier today I handled a DUI for a fellow in an Oakland County District Court. This particular Court is FAR AND AWAY the toughest Court on DUI’s in the Metro-Detroit area. It’s easily twice as tough as the next toughest Court, at least where I go. The outcome of this case will invariably be different than the outcome of an identical case pending on the other side of Dequindre, in a Macomb County District Court. To put it mildly, a person who got “pounded” in a typical Macomb County District Court would still have far less “consequences” than a person who catches as good a break as possible in the Oakland County District Court where today’s case was heard.
Oakland County is generally tougher on DUI’s than Macomb, and Wayne County (at least those Courts in which I Practice) can be described as somewhere in the middle. Some Wayne County District Courts are as “lenient” in a DUI as many Macomb County Courts, while others are much more like their Oakland County counterparts. Those are essentially geographic factors.
In any Court with more than one Judge, each will have his or her own perspective on these cases. This means that a case assigned to one Judge may turn out differently than if it had been assigned to another Judge in the same Court.
There are other factors which affect a case, as well. In an earlier article, I examined how a person’s Breathalyzer results can affect their case. A person caught with a .12 Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC) will be treated differently (meaning less harshly, which really means “less consequences”) than a person caught with a .21 BAC, all other things being equal.
When someone is Arrested for a DUI and has a child under 16 in the car, they are usually charged with Child Endangerment. this ramps things up. If there was an accident involved, things likewise get ramped up a bit. It’s the Lawyer’s job to turn those lemons into lemonade, and help everyone cool down about the situation.
Can you see how a person with a really high Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC), who had a 12 year old in the car, was involved in an accident, and got popped in a tough Oakland County community will be looking at a very different picture than a person who got caught, driving alone, with a low BAC, in Macomb County?
This means comparing the outcome of one person’s case to the outcome of another person’s case is is like comparing one person’s case of Breast Cancer to another person’s case of Prostate Cancer.
Once we move beyond all of those factors which make each and every case unique, we then look to what can be done to minimize damage. Producing “the least amount of consequences possible” means spending the necessary time to fully prepare the Client for his or her Pre-Sentence Investigation, or PSI.
This is a step in a case which is required by Law. After a person Pleads to, or gets found Guilty of a DUI, Michigan Law requires that, prior to the Judge imposing Sentence on the person, they undergo a Mandatory Alcohol Screening. This means that, in every Court (except the 72nd District Court in Marine City), they’ll be meeting with a Probation Officer for an interview, and they will be take a written alcohol test, as well. For the record, the 72nd District Court in Marine City refers all DUI Drivers for an alcohol evaluation at a hospital, or Clinic.
The result of that alcohol evaluation and interview is a written Sentencing Recommendation. The Law requires this report to be provided to the Judge at Sentencing.
As the linked article notes, what happens to a person in any case is almost always a repeat of what the Probation Department recommends.
It is therefore OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE to make sure the Client is well prepared for that PSI process. This involves not only teaching them the “science and psychology” of Probation, but how to avoid mistakes on the alcohol evaluation, as well.
The difference in possible outcomes between someone who had been well prepared for their PSI and someone who was not, and just went in and “winged it” is huge. It is attention to detail and thoroughness of preparation that will result in “the least amount of consequences possible.”
Conversely, lack of proper preparation will likely involve “consequences” that could otherwise have been avoided, like classes, community service, treatment programs, and the like.
So when a caller or Client tells me they want to make sure they wind up with “the least amount of consequences possible,” I want them, in turn, to understand that doing just that is my number one mission. After all, that’s what you hire a Lawyer for in the first place.