I call it the Big “D”. The magic word that is possessed by those who control your destiny when you end up being charged with a crime involving drugs or alcohol. It starts with the police, flows through the prosecutor and rests with the judge. The Big “D” is discretion. How it is used may make the difference between being arrested or happily motoring down the road. It could be employed to have your charges dismissed or force you to go to jail.
Discretion is driven by many things; your record, your appearance, your manner or your compliance with court rules. Since everyone on the other side of the equation has it, and uses it daily, it makes simple sense to be aware of it and seek to have it used in your favor.
If you are arrested, you will never win your case at roadside by saying: “I know the DA. He will take care of me.” Or, “I am related to Senator Jones. You will find yourself cleaning dog kennels at the animal shelter on Monday.” Just be courteous and respectful, ask for a lawyer if you need to and save the fight for another day.
If you go to court wearing clothes that you slept in the night before, proudly sporting your newly minted tattoo and resplendent in layers of jewelry, do not expect to earn any points with the prosecutor. For that matter, you may not even make it inside the courthouse.
If you forget what your mother and Sister Carmen taught you about respect and courtesy to the judge, expect to understand the meaning of “contempt”.
Remember. Your tenure in the criminal justice system should be a temporary passage. If you need an extended tutorial, there are those who will be glad to afford you an education. Most folks are not slow learners here, so pay attention.
Discretion is there to be earned by the deserving. Abide by the rules and it will work in your favor