I have handled a lot of DUI cases over the last twenty-five years and one issue that comes up a lot of times people are actually addicted to alcohol and are getting multiple DUI's or getting a DUI where they have a very bad accident and they are facing a bunch of jail or prison time, or their blood alcohol level is extremely high – way too high for somebody who is just a social drinker.
So, that's when we start talking about alcohol treatment programs. A lot of lawyers or their sales people are telling people you should go to AA and you should do these alcohol programs before you even go into court. When I talk to the people I'm like, wait minute – do you have an alcohol program?
Because if you don't have an alcohol problem and this is your first offense and you just had a few drinks, do you want the prosecutors to think that you're an alcoholic?
So, a lot of these things are not smart moves. You don't do the same thing in every single DUI case in Los Angeles. You have to look at the facts and the circumstances surrounding your case and then you make the decision based on counsel from a good DUI defense attorney on exactly how you're going to deal with your case.
Live-In Alcohol Treatment Program
If somebody is facing jail time and they don't want to go to jail, or they're facing prison time and they don't want to go to prison, sometimes I've been able to get them a live-in alcohol treatment program.
A lot of times the prosecutors will do this because if it's a good program it will help to get to the root of the person's problem. Especially let's say for example, the prosecutors are trying to give somebody a year in local county jail because they have second, third or fourth-time DUI or maybe because they got in an accident and hurt somebody.
There's a number of different reasons. Maybe they're going 100 miles an hour. The more dangerous you are, the more likely they are going to want to throw you in jail.
In this case, instead of jail time, we might consider trying to get you some sort of a live-in program because I can say to the prosecutor, listen, if you give him a year he's probably going to be out in two or three months. Why not give him a ninety-day live-in program?
Then you know he's off the street for ninety days and not only that, he's getting help and treatment for the issue that is the genesis of why this person is in trouble. Why this person is endangering the public.
And the prosecutors and judges know that if you don't do the alcohol program or if you walk away from the live-in alcohol program, they're going to alert the court and the court is going to put a warrant out for your arrest and when the court catches you, they're going to put you in jail.
Out-Patient Alcohol Treatment Program
So, a lot of times I can get these live-in alcohol treatment programs for people. There're also out-patient alcohol programs. These are not as effective as a live-in program at really stopping people from drinking and really getting to the root of the problem and figuring out how this person is not going to drink alcohol anymore for their own health and safety and is not going to be in a position to endanger the public anymore.
So, I love alcohol treatment programs if people really need it and we don't want them to end up in jail and we are trying to help them. But, if somebody doesn't really need it, then there's no reason that you would want to go into an alcohol program except to avoid jail and that's something I don't know that it really makes sense, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
So, an out-patient program is something we can use if it makes sense for your situation, but it's not as effective when it comes to convincing the judge and the prosecutor not to put you in jail.
Alcoholic Anonymous Meetings
Another thing they'll make you do if you get arrested and you have a high blood alcohol level and they're worried about you, the judge – if they're going to release you on your own recognizance – will make you do AA meetings while you're out; while the case is pending. Sometimes they'll make you wear a scram bracelet on your ankle.
So, when it comes to an alcohol program there are other things that can supplement an alcohol program and can be used to help you related to your DUI case in Los Angeles.
Other things that I've done – if somebody really has an alcohol problem and it shows based on what they did related to their DUI case – then I'm going to probably have them get into some sort of a live-in program or an out-patient alcohol program because I want to show the prosecutors that we know that there's a problem prosecutor, you don't have to tell us and we're getting help for it.
We're getting treatment and we're going to be in a good position when we get out of the treatment. We're going to show that we've turned the corner and we're not going to put the public in danger. That's a crucial thing for the prosecutors and judges. They are looking to protect the public.
So, when it comes to DUI cases and alcohol programs they will consider them if they think that you're serious about it and you really want to deal with this alcohol program and not put the public in danger related to getting involved in DUI's.
I've been doing this a long time – many years of dealing with DUI's and alcohol programs – and to me, what it boils down to is the person who has a DUI, who has the issue, is the one who is going to have to say enough is enough.
In other words, they're going to have to say, you know what, I'm not drinking anymore. Drinking is getting me in trouble. Drinking is destroying my life and I'm going to figure out how to stop and if this DUI that I got is the catalyst to get me to stop and I need to get into a live-in program, then I'm going to do that.
So, if you're thinking about trying to resolve your case with a live-in alcohol program or an out-patient program, what you need to do if you have a DUI case pending is sit down with an attorney who is local to the court where your case is pending who has done a lot of DUI program.
Program Counselors Appearing Before The Judge
When it comes to these alcohol programs, there's actually counselors who can help you get into the programs who will appear in judge and say, judge we got him into an alcohol program. Here's the program. It's live-in.
Here's what the structure is going to be. Here's where it's going to be. Here's what we do if the person doesn't do what they're supposed to or walks away from the program – we're going to call the court up and let them know.
Here's how we try to help this person and assimilate them back into society, so when they're all done, they can succeed. We give them the tools to succeed and to get out of the criminal justice system as fast as humanly possible.
This is the type of alcohol program you will need if you have a DUI pending in LA county and you've got to coordinate that through your attorney who can help you get what is necessary to help you get out of the system as fast as possible.