Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer: Collateral Damage in a NYS DWI

I love Arnold, one of his more exciting flicks was Collateral Damage. Just the idea of a ripple effect, the pebble dropped into the pond, and then the visual of dominos put in motion can set the mind spinning. One thing almost always leads to another, and in the world of DWI this can often be true as well.

How Can Just One Event Set a String of Events in Motion?

The following is merely one relevant example but there are many others within the field of criminal defense.

Your criminal DWI case goes into Court for sentencing, it is an agreed upon plea (one negotiated between your lawyer and the ADA). The Judge agrees as well a CD (conditional discharge) with ONE of the conditions being that you complete the DMV DDP (drinking driver program).

It all seems simple enough. So you go to the (DDP) program. While in the DDP, they feel (the instructors use a matrix) that you need a drug/alcohol evaluation. Then their evaluator says you need treatment for your problem. They make a recommendation for twelve group therapy sessions. You go to two, you decide it's BS (a waste of your time and money), and you don't follow through. A report of this goes back to the Court (to the Judge) who then violates you because you (unknowingly) violated his conditions. You now must return to Court for your case to be re-opened, and for you to be re-sentenced.

Does this happen? More often than you may imagine. I get phone calls on this and more.

Ways to Protect from Collateral Damage (consequences)

1. Listen carefully to any Court ordered conditions.
2. Read carefully any list or rendition of Court ordered conditions.
3. Are there any "special" (added) conditions?
4. Do any of them open you up to further collateral consequences?
5. Are any of them open ended?
6. Do you need to get an mental and/or drug evaluation (and follow through with any and all recommendations)?
7. Are there any specific time periods or time limits placed upon the conditions?
8. Do you need to show the Court proof of completion?

Remember forewarned is forearmed. Prepare for all of it. Look and read before proceeding to sign and agree.

Law Office of Lawrence Newman
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850