Will Attending AA Or NA Meetings Prior To Trial Help My DUI Case?
Every case is different and in many cases, it will be helpful for most people to attend AA or NA meetings prior to trail. It would be advisable, but not for everyone. I do tell some clients after sitting down and going over their case and if we know their numbers that in some cases it’s not going to make a difference. For most people, it’s a really good idea and especially for someone who is a professional, who has a professional license, who is subject to regulations of a licensing board in their area of work, such as nursing, it’s huge to start doing some meetings and to do classes. Doctors and anyone who is subject to penalties or losing their license to practice what they do and anyone who could be suspended or put on a probation by their licensing board or their organization should do preemptive counseling, AA meetings and also get them documented. Put your name at the top of the sheet that you’re getting signatures on and get signatures at the end of every meeting.
If you go to counseling therapy, get a letter from your counselor when you start and get some updated letters that show your progress and a few things that you’re working on. The more documentation we can get to show that you were taking the steps, to show that this is not going to be repetitive, that people don’t need to worry about you, that your organization and your licensing boards are not going to need to worry about you, the more you can show them the better off you’re going to be. It’s preemptive, but it is important, more important for some than others, but within a day or two of getting your DUI you should be talking to an experienced DUI lawyer who does almost nothing but or only DUI law and handles DUIs in the county where you’re arrested. The experience that the DUI lawyer has can make the big difference in your case. It’s just like with surgery where you’re not going to want to have a surgeon who hasn’t done any surgeries in this area. They might have some new hotshot technique, but we’re dealing with a very grey area here and the more experience, the more knowledge that someone has, the better. Talk to your lawyer and in the beginning when you’re trying to find a lawyer, find the person that you’re comfortable with and part of that is your initial consultation with them in getting advice. If you’re talking to someone who works in their office and you’re never going to get to talk to that lawyer, if that’s the case, then that’s probably not the office that you want. If you are trying to contact the person that you’ve read about online and someone else from the office calls, if you want to talk to that lawyer, talk to them, tell them, “I want to talk to that lawyer”. I’ll call someone back who contacts my office as soon as I can, but if I can’t come back to them very quickly, I will often have another lawyer who shares the office or one of my colleagues if I’m too busy, someone who would be a fantastic DUI lawyer, I would have them call you back.
At that initial conference, if enough information is taken in, they may have a very good idea as to whether or not you need to be starting some meetings maybe that day. We can get you a sheet to bring to start getting signatures. We can email that to you very easily. We all have computers. If you want that lawyer and if you’re not comfortable with the person who calls you and you want the lawyer whose name you are calling, whose number was underneath their picture on their website or wherever you find them, then just say, “I’d prefer to speak, in this case, to Mr. Bortel”. That’s perfectly fine and I’m more than happy to talk to you. It might just take me a bit longer if I’m in a hearing or in court or doing things that I do but I am more than happy to talk with anybody who calls my office.
Sometimes, I am the one who calls back right away, most of the time I am, but sometimes I can’t and the important thing though is to get that good advice to determine whether or not, “Hey, maybe I should start going to a meeting today and every day until I go to court and keep doing it”. Meetings are not hard to do. Meetings are morning, noon and night and they’re everywhere. There are hundreds if not thousands every week and in bigger cities and everyone has them. Every town in this country has AA meetings, maybe there are a few that don’t but most of them do. Alcoholism and drug addiction are so prevalent in our society, is such a part of our society and so many other societies, that we’re lucky to have so many organizations who have allowed meetings to take place in conference rooms, in town hall centers, in buildings, houses, garages, offices, meeting spaces, lounges, and wherever.
It’s so needed and we’re lucky to have them and we really need people to take advantage of them. What’s really important about the meetings that people should know is that the first meeting you go to may not be the right meeting for you, but there are so many out there. If you go to a meeting and it’s Vietnam vets and many who may have some pretty major drug problems and it’s kind of a different group than you’re used to, you may not be real comfortable, that may not be the group for you; that probably is not the group for you unless you are Vietnam vet with similar issues. Find a meeting online and just do a Google search for Alcoholic Anonymous AA meetings. They are very easy to find. There are directories that you will find a meeting that’s hopefully somewhat in your area.
Maybe you’re a businessman who works in a downtown area and there will be plenty of meetings with other people in your field who do similar things. It may be a meeting with stay-at-home moms. It may be a meeting with construction workers or people who are laborers; it may be a number of doctors, physicians, therapists. There are just so many different groups out there and I’m kind of generalizing but if you want a meeting that has a lot of professionals there, it’s not hard to find. You can look where they’re located and go to the meeting and that’s how you find out. Go to three, four, five, eight, or 10 meetings until you find the right one for you. If you’re going to be doing this for a while, you’re going to be spending your time at these meetings, then take advantage of it and embrace it because especially if you are someone who is an alcoholic, you need these meetings.
You probably need a lot more than that. In fact most do but it’s a good start until you can figure out where to go from there. It’s a good thing that we have them, it’s a great thing. I think that what needs to happen especially for people who are able to demonstrate that they’ve done the work to find the right meetings, to do the right therapy, to get with the right group and they establish that and they can really prove to the court, to the DA, to society that they are working hard on this, then they should be given a bigger break. Something that I really push with my clients, especially the ones that really embrace the recovery process, is I spend a lot of time talking with DAs and judges about what my clients have done, about how they are different than most other people who come through their courtrooms.
I work hard for all my clients, but I can do a lot more for someone who has worked their tail off on recovery and demonstrate that they’re not going to be back in that courthouse again. If you are someone who had a high blood alcohol level or it’s a multiple offense or you have a history of alcohol or drug issues, you can do things and you should do things. Not everybody is ready to, not everybody is willing to, but when you’re looking for a lawyer, look for someone who is willing to talk to you and talk about the issues that I’ve been going through here on how you can help yourself, help your case and set yourself aside impart from someone who is not willing to demonstrate that they are going to be more responsible in the future and not put lives in danger; we’re all human, we all make mistakes.
Almost every client who ever talks to me will hear me say that at some point. We are human, we make mistakes. That’s just the way it is. No one is mistake-proof in this world, but it’s what we do after that and how we’re judged by others and how we look at ourselves and how we exist within our own skins. You go to meetings and you’re working on what may or may not be an issue. If you think it may not be an issue, at least you’re figuring out if it is or if it is not. The meetings may or may not be helpful, but by just going in and doing them, you’re dong yourself a service. You’re helping yourself and you should feel good about that even if you decide, “You know what, I am not an alcoholic and I am not having issues with drinking and just going to jail that night after I got arrested, having handcuffs on, going to court, that was enough for me”. You go to some meetings and you really have a much better idea on whether that was enough for you. The meetings can help determine that.
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