Interviewer: Are there any diversion programs or alternative punishments for people that you can try to enroll your clients in so they can reduce jail time or other consequences?
Attorney Tafelski: In some cases where we’re able to identify a defense, a problem with the case, meaning that either the stop was invalid or the arrest was invalid, or the administration of the breath test was improper, or the machine was not working properly.
Building a Strong defense is Beneficial in Negotiating with the Prosecutor and May Assist in Having the Charge Reduced
Sometimes in cases where we can identify a true problem, we’ve been able to negotiate with the prosecutors to have the cases reduced to not drinking and driving, such as to careless driving, which is a civil infraction, or some other lesser charge. That happened in the cases where we can build up a good, strong defense.
Some Individuals May Be Eligible for Sobriety Court, Avoiding the Year License Suspension and Mandatory Jail Sentence
In other situations, for example, the law on a second offense operating while intoxicated is that your license is revoked for a minimum of one year. In those cases, in many instances we’ve been able to place clients into what’s called sobriety courts, which are intensive, court-supervised programs to ensure sobriety of the defendant.
In those circumstances, we’ve been able to both avoid jail, which is likely on second offenses, and/or get them a partial driver’s license, where normally their license is completely revoked for a year.
There are some programs that do provide benefits involving the driver’s license and avoiding jail.
Still Considering Self-Representation? An Attorney Can Help with Mitigating the Effects of an OWI in Almost Every Case
Interviewer: This may be a tough question, but how often are you able to have a positive impact on someone’s case? For example, where you are able to have a charge reduced or fines mitigated or improved? Just generally, how often are you able to do something?
Attorney Tafelski: I would say in almost every case, we feel when the case is over; we’ve been able to provide worthwhile help to the clients in one of those areas. Either winning the case outright, reducing the charge, saving their driver’s license, avoiding jail, reducing the length of time they’re on probation, reducing the restrictions that they have while they’re on probation, and getting them some kind of a benefit that allows them to keep their job.
In some ways, we have helped them be set up to be successful when this case is over with. I think, in almost every case, we feel like we’ve done some good for the client.