Why Preparing for the best outcome means laying out the reasons for leniency?
Why Judges want reasons for being or showing leniency?
Apology: It All Begins at the End, Outcome Based Preparation
Remember that to get an outcome you must begin with the idea of what outcome is possible. Is it realistic under the circumstances? I always speak in terms of possible and probable.
First, is this possible?
Second, is this probable?
New York State has ranges of punishment. These ranges are very wide and diverse. They give prosecutors and judges tremendous leeway to fashion an appropriate remedy for justice.
Justice or fairness can be very subjective. Even with all this subjectivity I can tell you this, you ALWAYS stand a much better chance of a more favorable outcome by speaking from a place of APOLOGY.
You Must Plant the Seeds of What You Want Early
After assessing a criminal case if the evidence is NOT favorable whatsoever. I don't delude myself or our clients. We need to take a cold hard look at what we are facing. Let's plan early for the best result.
If we are looking for a specific outcome then we must begin at once.
DWI and DWAI Drugs Cases Require Evaluations and Potentially Treatment
With a Drug and/or alcohol related offense we must have a certified drug/alcohol evaluation aka an assessment. Do we have a diagnosis or no diagnosis? Do we have a recommendation or no recommendation?
Time is Any Case is Always a Factor of Importance
If you truly care about your situation then waiting or delaying evaluation and treatment is seen as an excuse by prosectors and judges. It is the opposite of ownership, it is in fact irresponsible behavior to allow a cause of a problem to linger. In the minds of judges and prosecutors this delay is truly a DENIAL.
Denial of an alcohol or drug problem speaks volumes to a person's mindset. Awareness and then acceptance, and then ownership speak to recovery and redemption. This is transformative because generally speaking people in positions of power (like judges and prosecutors) want to SUPPORT and encourage recovery.
Rehabilitation Over Punishment is a General Philosophy in NYS Probation
They would rather have rehabilitation of a human being than straight on punishment of them. This is a general statement and there are those within the system that believe strongly in sending a message. They believe that jail and incarceration teach lessons and are effective tools to deal with any criminal behavior.
We are never just dealing with one party. We have a probation department, we have a district attorney's office, and ultimately we have a judge. The judge is the last and final word so even if we have a vindictive prosecutor and a probation recommendation hell bent on jail we still can appeal to the judge.
Never discount the power of doing all the right things. Never discount the ability to turn a situation around for the better. They say hope springs eternal but I say hope works where apology is applied properly.
Apology takes many forms and having a drug/alcohol evaluation and then follow through with treatment can go a long way even in the most hardened cases and situations.
Give Me All the Reasons for Leniency and Perhaps Leniency will Be Given
People want you to explain why you deserve things. We all keep bank accounts. Bank accounts are not just financial but also a remembering of the deeds you have done. What's in your account with your wife, girlfriend, kids, and family? How many years of deeds? Are some of those good or even great?
Why does someone deserve a second or a third chance? Why is this time different? What are you promising to do? What have you done that is going to make a change?
It's the same with a judge, a probation department, and a prosecutor's office. What's your track record?
Expectations of New York State Criminal Case Apology and Results
Potentially anything is possible but not everything is PROBABLE with the realm of criminal defense. I have effectuated some unexpected outcomes but I have been surprised more than once. All we can do is set up the case and you with the best potential for a great result but As always discuss with an attorney that practices in that area of law and in that court about probability.
DWAI drugs (heroin) with two years of probation versus three years. This means they have the potential to end probation after half the time has been served or one year.
DWI aggravated with an accident. A one year CD (conditional discharge) with the primary condition being treatment for alcohol abuse.
Fourth and fifth DWI felony with a straight term of probation, no jail. These sentences included strict monitoring for alcohol use.
As a general rule is both possible and can be probable under the right circumstances to do the following:
1. Lessening of jail sentences by weeks, months, or even years
2. Lessening of terms of probation, NYS judges now have leeway to have lesser terms of probation
3, 4, and 5 years for felonies and 2 and 3 year terms for misdemeanors
3. Lessening of terms of fines, ignition interlock devices, sobrietors
4. Home monitoring with ankle bracelets instead of terms of incarceration
5. Community service hours instead of incarceration
Lastly, remember that apology is more than just words. Words can be empty without emotion and feeling. Words coupled with acts and emotion can move mountains. In other words, show me don't tell me. If your actions are in alignment with your heartfelt words you stand the best chance of having those with power support you and your sobriety. This is true in court and at home.