Feb 15, 2019 Alcohol & drug programs for probation – Virginia DUI lawyer raises caution
Alcohol & drug programs for probation and pretrial purposes – Virginia DUI lawyer cautions to tread carefully
Alcohol and drug programs are big business for DUI cases, other court cases, and non-court cases, employing a large percentage of people in Virginia and beyond. Yes, those programs often are better than if the only other choice is jai, but their very existence means that Virginia magistrates, judges, pretrial agents and probation agents might rely on them more often based on their existence.
Virginia DUI lawyer on voluntarily and mandatorily pursuing alcohol and drug programs
As a Fairfax criminal lawyer and civil libertarian, I believe strongly that the DUI laws ensnare too many people even drinking alcohol lightly, that the Virginia DWI laws are all the harder to respect (obey, yes – respect, no), marijuana must be legalized, and all other drugs must be punished much less harshly.
Drug and alcohol programs have their place, as do Alcoholics Anonymous and other self help programs, but more people will stop or reduce their drug and alcohol use by resolving themselves to do so (rather than through judicial and statutory mandates) and when they can know that their drug and alcohol counselors and psychological therapists are there exclusively for therapeutic reasons and will not inform on them to probation officials and judges for missed meetings, a positive drug or alcohol urine test, and other lapses (particularly when those lapses are minor and can be made up for).
Virginia DWI attorney on the tension between therapists doing therapy versus acting as surrogate probation agents
For people who want psychological and substance counseling, they are blessed that numerous (but of course not all) such alcohol and other professionals are very good and caring, and that good financial resources and sometimes health insurance plans can make the choice of such counselors more plentiful. However, even the best DUI, drug and mental health counselor is challenged by the tension between providing treatment and by any obligation to act as a surrogate probation agent by having an obligation to inform VASAP, probation agents, and judges of any actual or apparent mis-steps of their client.
How Virginia DUI and drug defendants can smoothen the road of programs and therapy
Virginia DWI and drug defendants can smoothen the road of mandatory programs and therapy by including the following: Obtain and work closely with your lawyer to reduce and deal with pitfalls along the way. Be ready to ask the court to withdraw or ameliorate magistrate orders to enter pretrial alcohol or drug programs. Talk with your lawyer about dealing with the possibility that VASAP will directs getting a private program evaluation for possible extra treatment. Beware what you say in group therapy sessions (others in the group have little interest to maintain your confidentiality), and beware that your words to your therapist and probation or pretrial agent do not come back to bite you in the butt. Also, see my general tips on dealing with probation agents.
Remember your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent with probation agents and programs, but silence can have costs
Criminal defendants on pretrial supervision and convicted defendants on alcohol-related and other probation still maintain their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent with their probation agent, but that does not permit the probationer not to fulfill any judicial or probation office mandate to report interactions with police or new criminal charges, and silence does not automatically preclude backlash when the probation agent is trying to fashion a therapeutic remedy to an alleged probation violation.
A DUI & criminal defendant’s best friend is their lawyer
Whenever pretrial supervision or probation do not go smoothly, a DUI and criminal defendant should seek help from their lawyer. Proceeding alone with such challenges can sometimes prove damaging.
Virginia DUI lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best possible defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI/DWI, drug & sex prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.