Ok, so you have a plea offer of probation. Sounds good; keeps you outta jail so it has to be good, right? Beware! There are many types of probation and some are relatively straight forward – report once a month, don’t get arrested, take a class, pay a fine. Simple enough. But for alleged crimes involving drugs and/or alcohol, add in random screens, more time off work, more fines and fees, and more of a chance of violating probation, thus increasing your odds of getting locked up anyway. Can’t pee? Fail. Piss too watery? Fail. Can’t you take blood or hair? Nope. A fail usually ends up in getting locked up and invariably the probationer asks himself, why in the hell didn’t I just take straight time? Keep these things in mind when your attorney recommends probation.
“Where did you get the weed?” the Judge asked. The reply (always), “A friend of a friend.”
“What’s his name?” The reply (always again), “I don’t know his name. I’m being honest.”
“Ok, where’s he live?” Typical answer – “I don’t know where he lives. I met him at a restaurant.”
“Ok, what’s your friend’s name?” Now, the defendant starts looking confused, but it’s a poor acting job. “I don’t know his name. I told you.”
“Not your friend’s friend. Your friend. What’s his name?” And now the trembling starts, “Umm…I don’t…I…”
“Look here – you either tell me his name and walk out of here on probation or I’ll lock you up for 12 months.” The lawyer leans over and says something to the client, but the client simply responds with, “Tom.”
“Does your buddy Tom have a last name?” The defendant casts his eyes down. “I don’t know.”
“Do you want that deputy standing next to you to place handcuffs on you right now?” The defendant looks absolutely terrified and looks at the badge to his right. “No, sir.”
“Last chance then. What is your friend’s last name?” A deep sigh and a whisper, “Smith, sir.”
“Tom Smith? Ok. Where’s Tom Smith live?”
This is simply poor lawyering, folks. Remember when you hire an attorney that you are not just hiring legal acumen. You are hiring someone who knows the Judges and what the Judges are likely to say to your client. You are hiring someone who is in front of the Judges weekly, if not daily, and thus someone who knows how to prep his client so that the above back-and-forth doesn’t happen. In short, you hire a lawyer who ensures that you come in prepared so you don’t start trembling as you get painted into a corner.