State v. J.R.
This was a client accused of Battery and Destruction Of Property
The accusations claimed that my client had consumed a great deal of alcohol and prescription drugs, attacked her roommate by grabbing her by the hair and throwing her out of the house, and destroyed a cell phone that the supposed victim was trying to use to call the police. The victim was missing a large chuck of hair from her head and bruises on her body.
These are serious charges and although she was initially only charged with a misdemeanor the prosecutor was threatening to amend the charge to a felony or add additional misdemeanor charges. When this client came to me she was being told that the best outcome available was 90 or more days in jail. She was fed up with the public defender she was working with and wanted someone to take a closer look at the case to see what could be done (See my article on public defenders and the difficult job they have!). My client is a medical professional and was worried bout the impacts this case would have on her career.
When I took over I made it clear to the prosecutor that this was not a violent person. This case was about a person who needed help with mental health and substance abuse issues, not jail time. Jail does not solve substance abuse, only treatment does.
I sat down and talked with the prosecutor about the impacts to her career and how losing her job would only make her more of a risk for re-offense, not less (productive members of society are much less likely to re-offend than those who are unemployed).
In the end, I convinced the prosecutor that everyone deserves a second chance. Not only did the State pass on amending the charge to a felony or adding additional charges, they agreed to dismiss one of the misdemeanor counts as long as my client completed a mental health evaluation and substance abuse classes. My client ended up pleading to 1 misdemeanor count with a sentence of: no fine, 4 days of cleaning up trash on the side of the road as part of SILD (Sheriff's Labor Detail), and 2 years of misdemeanor probation.
The judge also agreed that he would consider a motion to dismiss this case if she completed her probation without issue. This means 2 years from now this could end up disappearing from her record!
This is a good result in a situation that could have ended up very very badly.