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Fairfax options for criminal defendants w/ drug, alcohol & behavioral issues

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Fairfax options exist in court for criminal defendants with drug, alcohol and mental health issues

Fairfax options exist exist in court for criminal defendants with drug, alcohol, and behavioral issues. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that such defendants need to consider whether such court options will be more beneficial or not to their defense and themselves. I also know that drug and mental health issues must not be permitted to stigmatize people, nor to lead to the automatic conclusion that such people commit crimes. A criminal defense lawyer should explore what caused the accused’s alleged behavior, including whether or not that was from drugs, alcohol, mental health ailments, or anything else. In Fairfax, the following court options exist for Virginia DUI and criminal defense lawyers and their clients to explore: Fairfax Drug Court, the Veteran’s Treatment Docket (a hybrid drug and mental health docket), and Mental Health Docket. Additional Virginia courts with drug programs are here., and those with behavioral health programs are here. Also, check out the Fairfax County Diversion First initiative.

Criminal defense lawyers need to overcome juror biases against the accused and those with drug, alcohol and mental health issues

When I worked at my first law firm, straight out of law school, I would sometimes catch up with a neighbor down the street as I would walk to the subway. He was of counsel at a major D.C. corporate law firm after having worked in-house at a major corporation. On one of our first meetings, he told me how he was reassigned by the military from his criminal defense role when he was winning “too many” cases for American soldiers in Vietnam. Several months later, this same lawyer was irate, telling me about how his elderly neighbor got robbed as he started entering his home. The words of this lawyer were along the lines of: “‘Let me help you with your groceries, said the black man to the white man.'” Few things will kill a friendship with me more quickly than such racism. This lawyer then proceeded to proclaim his view that a vast number of criminals are on drugs. If a lawyer who had previously defended plenty of people accused of blue collar crimes, what are the anti-criminal defendant biases of at least some jurors and rest of society at large? The Fairfax options for those with drug, alcohol and mental health issues ideally help reduce the stigma of such issues and instead help people with those challenges.

Acknowledging the issue is the first step to recovery

The first step to recovery is acknowledging this issue. The Alcoholics Anonymous first of twelve steps affirms that: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” People with drug, alcohol and mental health issues are in and out of the closet with such information to varying degrees. My eyes were first awakened to how open some people are about their substance and mental health issues when I asked a woman — who looked to be a thoroughly conformist person — at a museum the meaning of her name tag, and without batting an eye, she told me she was in town for the annual Alcoholics Anonymous gathering. Soon after starting at that first law firm, I bumped into a fellow college classmate who worked in my same building, and he openly volunteered to me about his heavy drug use (including untold hits of acid / LSD) and diagnosis of schizophrenia after having become homeless for a spell. On another occasion, he told me about going away for the weekend to a small town where his activities included attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Those seeking the above-referenced Fairfax options for their Virginia criminal cases are only going to benefit from them by not denying the seriousness level of their substance or mental health issues.

Should I reveal my drug, alcohol or mental health issue to the prosecutor and judge?

Experienced judges and prosecutors are attuned to the role that drug, alcohol and mental health issues can play with alleged criminal offenses and with rehabilitating so as not to reoffend. On the other hand, merely being charged for a first time Virginia DUI offense nor drug offense must not lead to the automatic conclusion that the accused is an alcoholic or a drug abuser. An entire industry that comes close to workfare has arisen over drug and alcohol identification and treatment. We should be helping those with drug, alcohol and mental health issues, and not with creating and maintaining job positions for those who identify and treat drug, alcohol and mental health issues. Nobody should force suchFairfax options on criminal defendants; they should only be optional.

How do I determine whether the Fairfax options for substance abuse and behavioral health issues are right for me?

You cannot know whether the foregoing Fairfax options are right for you without first obtaining a qualified lawyer for your Fairfax DUI or criminal case, and to include an in-depth discussion about these options with your lawyer. I have successfully defended hundreds of clients with substance and behavioral health issues, always providing an empathetic and non-judgmental approach with these and all my clients. I have for years worked closely with some of the area’s best mental health and substance misuse professionals, which can help smooth the path for my clients to identify such professionals and to start using their services.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz pursues your best defense against Virginia DUI, misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. Learn for yourself the great difference that Jon Katz can make for your defense, with a free confidential in-person initial consultation with Jon about your court-pending case. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule a same-day or next-day meeting with Jon.