Interviewer: Now if someone was assaulted and they’re involved, however, it seems more and more like it wasn’t their fault. Could they then decide to sue for hospital bills if some of the damages were serious like broken nose, or teeth or something like that?
Paul Tafelski: Any time you’re a victim of assault and battery and you got medical bills or out-of-pocket damages or even personal injury or pain-and-suffering damages, you have the right to sue somebody. That would not be part of the criminal case except for the extent that, if let’s say you had some out-of-pocket medical bills and you were the victim of a crime and you wanted to submit those to the court, a lot of times the court would order that as restitution and make the defendant pay it as part of their sentence. Stuff like pain-and-suffering and lost wages things like that the court usually won’t get into. Criminal cases are for strictly out-of-pocket damages, medical bills mainly.
An Alcoholic Person May Be Ordered to Undergo Rehabilitative Treatment as Part of the Sentence Imposed by Court in a Domestic Violence Case
Interviewer: Would an alcoholic person be ordered to maybe partake in some sort of therapy or counseling or something along those lines?
Paul Tafelski: Yes, that’s a common part of a sentence. If there was any kind of substance abuse involved in the incident it is routinely ordered that they participate in some kind of counseling and also some kind of drug testing or alcohol testing while they’re on probation. A big part of these cases is fighting over the substance abuse issue and whether there is a problem or there’s not a problem, that sort of thing. Another typical part of any domestic violence probation term is anger management counseling. That as well can be different levels. You might have a 6-week program, you might have a 12-week program, you might have a 26-week program or a 52-week program.
Rehabilitative Programs are an Essential Element of Damage Control where the Attorney Seeks to Minimize the Penalties for Their Client
It all depends on the facts of the case and how well you can argue your position of whether or not this person has a need for that level of counseling and observation because for example, the 52-week type of program for domestic violence is quite intense and involved and if you miss too many you start over, you can have your probation violated and then all sorts of problems arise. Trying to minimize those sorts of conditions is also one of the key components of defending these cases. If you make a plea bargain your next strategy becomes damage control, minimizing the punishment, the length of probation, the conditions of probation like drug testing, alcohol testing, counseling , therapy, all that stuff.
There is Always a Cost Associated With Court Mandated Programs
Interviewer: For anger management classes, someone has to pay out-of-pocket for that too?
Paul Tafelski: There’s always a cost. It depends upon the program and the court and how much it is. It’s usually a little bit less than private therapy because it’s kind of a court ordered thing but it’s still definitely an expense to go on with all the other expenses.