dui cases are tough. they're about to get a little easier.
With a first DUI, you have a little leeway as a defense attorney. The second and third offenses? Not so much. Your client is looking at mandatory alcohol education/treatment along with jail time. By the fourth arrest, your client is SOL.
This is where I come in. Very few defendants start evaluation or treatment prior to sentencing for their DUIs. As their attorney, you need to get them into treatment right away. I don’t do certified DUI education or treatment—you need to send them to an approved provider as soon as possible. What I do is help your client get home detention. Or, help him/her get felony probation with suspended incarceration. Or, help him/her get into the proper level of treatment.
And, here is the deal with DUI evaluations: the evaluator cannot lower a person’s education/treatment level below what is statutorily required. But, the evaluator can increase a person’s education/treatment level above and beyond what is required. Most evaluators are masters-level practitioners who also run education and treatment classes. There is sometimes an inherent bias toward more treatment built into these evaluations.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could save your client 18 weeks of treatment? OR KEEP HIM OUT OF JAIL?
I can’t guarantee anything, other than that I will tell you the truth. If I gather information that is favorable for your client, I will fight tooth and nail for him/her. If your client is a mess, I’ll tell you that as soon as possible. My goal is not to get dangerous people out of legal trouble. My goal is to keep the public safe while ensuring DUI offenders get the right level of treatment/punishment (whether that “right level” is a little or a lot).
Here’s what I do: a thorough psychological and alcohol-use evaluation. I meet with the defendant multiple times (sometimes for up to eight to ten hours). In that time, I conduct a thorough clinical interview and mental status examination. I give a bunch of psychological tests that measure the defendant’s personality, emotional make-up, interpersonal skills, and cognitive abilities. I administer multiple alcohol-specific tests. Using all this information, I write a report that contains the following information:
- Everything that is statutorily required for a court-ordered alcohol evaluation
- A statement explaining I’ve met with the person for x number of hours
- Objective psychological testing results
- Objective alcohol use testing results
- Statutory recommendations for education/treatment
- A personable description of the defendant so the court/DA can see him/her as a real, full person
- Thorough description of the defendant to give the court/DA the context for the incident in question
- Any research that needs to be highlighted (e.g. data on why/how people black out and what they do when they black out; information on why someone with anxiety is less prone to use alcohol when getting appropriate treatment, etc.)
The pros of having your client go through a DUI evaluation with me:
- It’s confidential!
- It’s thorough.
- It’s independent (many providers whose business is conducting court-mandated alcohol education or treatment find that people need their services).
- The evaluation report will contain a description of your client as a fully contextualized human being with whom a DA or judge can relate.
- You will get a preview of the results your client will get through a court-ordered evaluation (and you can give the evaluator a copy of my thorough evaluation); or
- You can submit my report to the court, which can then circumvent the need to have another evaluation.
- You can use my evaluation or not. It’s confidential! And, it will help you control the narrative for your client.
I have worked with people who have been tipsy with BAC levels of .07, and I’ve also worked with people who were completely blacked out with BAC levels of 2.0+. I have evaluated people who don't have an alcohol problem and made one terrible mistake. I've also seen people who are severe alcoholics who drive drunk all the time. I can tell the difference, and I can help explain those differences to a DA or judge.
My bona fides:
- I am a licensed psychologist.
- I’ve been in practice in the Denver area since 2001.
- I’ve conducted thousands of evaluations of criminal offenders.
- I’ve worked with thousands of people with substance abuse problems.
- I taught as an assistant clinical professor at DU for twelve years.
- I taught in the program that prepared students for their CAC II.
- Judges all over the Denver area have seen my reports and know my work is solid.