Unfortunately for their clients, many DUI attorneys take the limited view that their job is to simply practice law and advise their clients relative to laws in Michigan regarding drinking and driving offenses. The problem with this view is that it fails to address the underlying addiction which may have played a role in leading to a DUI arrest in the first place.
While it is true that not all DUI lawyers are psychologists or substance abuse specialists, this does not mean that these attorneys cannot make valuable recommendations and suggestions regarding treatment. Whether a client is facing a first time DUI arrest or a second or third arrest, developing relationships with addiction specialists can prove to be an invaluable resource.
During an initial client interview, an experienced DUI practitioner should be able to get a sense as to whether a client arrested for a DUI was simply exercising poor judgment, or whether it is a sign of a serious alcohol addiction. To resolve doubt either way, it may be wise to refer a client for a substance abuse assessment. While these assessments are usually associated with the license restoration process, they can also serve a very important purpose with a DUI arrest. A substance abuse assessment by a licensed substance abuse counselor can indicate whether a client is in need of substance abuse treatment, AA attendance, counseling, or some combination involving more than one form of treatment. It can also indicate whether the DUI arrest might be symptomatic of other issues, including the need for mental health treatment. Quite simply, an assessment can provide a measure of a client’s tendency for alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse.
A client who takes the results from the assessment seriously and follows its recommendations can begin the process of receiving treatment and gaining insight toward their problems. Being proactive is key toward gaining this necessary insight. As an aside, it stands to reason that a DUI client facing a judge for sentencing will go a long way toward establishing the road to recovery by demonstrating this proactivity. Judges take notice of those DUI defendants appearing before them who don’t need to be told by the court that they need treatment or counseling. When DUI defendants do things on their own initiative, it demonstrates that the arrest and charge are being taken seriously and steps are being taken to lessen the likelihood of additional court involvement and new criminal charges down the road.
Judges often say that they are particularly impressed by DUI defendants who are proactive and demonstrate a sincere desire to gain insight and address those issues that lead to the arrest. When a Michigan DUI client is proactive, the court may very allow them to continue a treatment on their own rather than being ordered to follow a court regimen of treatment. Sometimes those court-sponsored are not tailored enough to meet your client’s needs. Moreover, your client may development a trust relationship with the counselor or therapist they are seeing. They may have formed a bond.
This is not to suggest that a DUI client should do certain things simply with a means toward appearing in a more favorable light. Being proactive should demonstrate a level of sincerity by your client. The attorneys at SMDA are equipped to make recommendations for their clients with treaters throughout Southeastern Michigan. If you are arrested for a drinking and driving offense, be proactive and contact an SMDA attorney.
Of course, look to your attorney for specific treatment recommendations, but a good starting point can be found at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.