Question: What can you do to be proactive about your pending DUI case in Maryland?
Answer: The biggest thing to do to be proactive, which we’ll tell you about when you come visit the office, we have, and always have had our clients do an alcohol education evaluation and an alcohol education course. So, this is something we’ve always done, and most other attorneys have jumped on board with that now. Because we feel like when we take our clients to court, we need to maximize their stature, we need to get positive cash flow, if you will, in their bank, so to speak, when they get before that judge. Obviously that’s where the rubber meets the road in front of the judge, and the judge needs to feel as if the client is somewhat contrite, and that he or she realizes that they’ve made a mistake and they are making amends.
One of the best ways to do that is to have an evaluation done of a client first, so everybody can see that they are just a social drinker—or if they’re not a social drinker we need to see that as well—and some sort of social education program so they understand that drinking and driving is, in fact, a bad thing and causes bad things to happen. Doing this before one goes to court is an extremely wise idea, because most judges will require you to do it anyway, so one looks far, far better walking in saying, “I recognize I’ve done wrong, and I’ve done this already to fix it.” Now, having said that to you, many people will say, “Well, aren’t I giving in or admitting my guilt when I do such a thing?” and the answer is, no, because that’s not something that we talk about on the front end when deciding how to handle a case or when deciding how to fight the case in court. In trial, we sort of keep that back and use it at mitigation at the end of the case should we need it.
There are other things that the judges will ask you to do post-court, which you cannot do, unfortunately; like a MADD Victim Impact Program, which is a one-time meeting, but unfortunately one cannot do that ahead of time. Sometimes, they’ll ask you to do, on rare occasions, community service which could conceivably be done ahead of time. But since judges ask for it so rarely, it doesn’t always make much sense to do that ahead of time. So the biggest things one can do ahead of time is alcohol education class. And the one thing that’s even more important than that is securing the appropriate counsel to defend any given case, but we’ll speak more to that in another video.