As a DWI defense and PI (personal injury) lawyer people ask me my opinion on legal (and sometimes non legal) matters almost daily. It suits me perfectly for I am quite opinionated. It is either part of my character or it is in my nature but I have thoughts on many subjects. I like to think and express.
Believe of not I have views on restaurants, businesses, philosophies, paradigms, and even Tilapia, see my blog on Tilapia and adjectives:
I like to use specific words to help people understand their situations. Words can either cloud or clear their view or perspective. I believe the first place to start a discussion about a problem or issue people are facing is to look at their EXPOSURE.
Exposure means what are they facing or potentially being subjected to? Whats lies in the distance or the near future for them? What should they expect, and when should they expect it? In other words, a person charged with a crime has to consider "their" openness.
1. Exposure is Always Personal
Two people can be facing the exact same criminal charges, and be exposed to vastly different things. How does that work? Because if one has a prior history of criminal and/or drug activity their exposure is greater than the unblemished first timer. Punishments ratchet up not down within the system. It is believed that if someone "continues" the same course or a bad direction of behavior that s/he must be dealt with more severely.
NOT just the Personal Past but those with a Personal Future
Exposure as being personal is not merely about where they have been, it also encompasses where they will be going. In other respects those with or desiring special licenses (doctors, lawyers, nurses, pharmacists), certifications (teachers), security clearances (government industries), positions of trust (banks, financial institutions), employment, military duty, educational opportunities, and permissions/privileges must take into consideration their present or future situation.
2. Exposure Follows a Direction
So punishment normally follows a path, we go from a set of Court Conditions to more extensive (harsher) conditions/obligations to Probation Supervision (monitoring) to County Jail (local) to State Prison or a combo of those things. Things usually go from bad to worse before they get better. There are creative options, such as rehabilitation and/or treatment programs that may jump you off this dead end track.
3. Exposure is Always Dual, it is always a Charge (crime/offense/level) and a Recommendation
People tend to focus on only half of a plea offer. They only focus on what charge is being offered. The basis of any plea bargain is two distinct things. A plea to a charge, AND a range of sentencing or a recommendation of sentencing to the Court/Judge.
NOTE: NYS has wide punishment ranges on just about everything (offenses/crimes) including violations (like speeding tickets). There are some mandatory things but by and large the Judge has great discretion.
The District Attorney's recommendation can state, no greater than a PSI (pre-sentence investigation) or what probation feels is an appropriate punishment or course of action. It can state no greater than 6 months in jail, or just probation, or a conditional discharge. Most judges will give the People's (the DA's) recommendation as part of a criminal plea bargain great weight in sentencing.
What punishments, penalties, fees, fines, programs, obligations, discomforts you will face are as important a consideration as the charge itself. Remember that ultimately the Judge will decide your fate, your penalty, and what you owe to set the balance scales right.
Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850