One of the greatest achievements that I can point to in my career as a representative of families who have loved ones charged with crimes involving alcohol and drugs is that I have the lowest rates of recidivism in the region. That’s right, my clients have the lowest rate of return in the criminal justice system than anyone else. That includes those who handled exclusively by the judges themselves. Doubt it? Ask.
I hate repeat customers. If someone comes back, that means there is a part of the initial process that failed to sink in. A layer not peeled back, a dark region not explored. I don’t like to see it. On occasion, it happens though. That is the nature of our world.
There is a popular misconception that defense lawyers are paid assassins who work the system to get criminals off the hook. Some do, I admit. With as many arrests that occur in city of Lafayette alone, there is enough business to attract posers who masquerade as advocates. They take a fee, push their clients through the legal turnstile and move on. Not all of us function that way.
Representing those charged with drug and alcohol offenses the right way is no easy task. It is one of the most complex of any area in the legal profession. Doing the job right takes special skills as an advocate and insights in the human condition. Most people don’t start their day with the goal of committing an alcohol or drug offense. It happens because there is some underlying reason, be it lack of understanding or failure to weigh consequences.
Everyone who crosses my office threshold is forced to look at why they ended up being placed in jeopardy in the first place. This is rarely pleasant. As a rule, we don’t do too well in educating members of our society about the vagaries of substance abuse. Every act has its consequences ranging loss of opportunity to loss of life. Those same people who fund the programs which allow for the arrest for drinking drivers will have to admit that punishment is not the best deterrent, education is.
I consider interface with the criminal justice system distinctly different from legal guilt. Arrest to me means opportunity, a chance to allow someone charged to hit a rewind button so there is no next time. That means exploring the fundamental reason on why things went wrong and fixing it, if at all possible, so that there is no future history.