THIS IS A STRATEGY FOR PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS DWI PROBLEMS. A SERIOUS DWI PROBLEM (TO ME) IS A SITUATION WHERE THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS REFUSING TO OFFER YOU PROBATION AND WANTS TO SEND YOU TO THE PEN INSTEAD.
JOHN GIOFFREDI PHONE (214) 739-4515
DEFENDING DALLAS AREA DWI CASES SINCE 1987
BECOMING PART OF THE SOLUTION
Here’s the problem with situations like yours: Drunk drivers kill and injure thousands of people every year in DWI accidents, and cause millions of dollars in property damage. It’s a huge problem. And on paper, you look like you are part of that problem. No judge, jury, or district attorney is going to go easy on you as long as you look like you are part of this problem. And as good a lawyer as I am, I don’t have any magic fairly dust to sprinkle on judges, juries, and district attorneys to make them think that you are not part of the problem. I’m a good lawyer, I’m just not that good!
I can’t save you, so you need to save yourself. You do that by addressing the problem and becoming part of the solution. That is not easy, but it can be done if you want it bad enough.
For you to become part of the solution, you have to do three things:
1) You need to get sober as soon as possible, and stay sober, and you need to create proof of that sobriety. With your track record of DWI cases, you have no credibility when it comes to substance abuse.
2) You need to establish strong and honest relationships with your counselors and others in sobriety so they will be willing to come to court for you. And this last one is critical:
3) You need to start helping other people get sober.
It is the process of helping other people get sober that will impress the judges and prosecutors the most. Literally thousands of people every year get themselves sober in response to a DWI arrest, but only one or two of them will make the effort to help other people get sober as well. It is these one or two people per year who get their charges reduced to a misdemeanor and / or extraordinary light sentences. Why? Because they are the ones who have earned it!
At some point, maybe six or eight months from now, we will be appearing in front of a judge for sentencing. Here is what I want to be telling that judge:
“Your Honor, my client has had a drinking (and / or drug) problem for years. It’s clear from their criminal record that they have repeatedly been arrested and charged for alcohol (and drug) related offenses dating all of the way back to [date]. Several months ago, I had a serious talk with my client, and told them that the best legal service I could provide to them was to tell them that they needed to wake up and get sober. I reminded them that DWI cases kill and injure thousands of people every year, and that they themselves were part of that huge problem. I also told them the only way I thought that they might get an acceptable outcome in their case was to demonstrate to you they had gone from being part of that problem to being part of the solution."
“I told my client that getting themselves sober was an excellent and much needed first step to that process, but to distinguish themselves in front of you, they needed to do more than just that. They needed to pay it forward, and help other people get sober, too. And I am pleased to report that we have three such people in the courtroom today who are here to testify that my client was an integral part of each of them getting clean and sober. And all three of these witnesses are further committed to paying it forward as well, to create a continuous chain of sobriety among friends and neighbors."
“Your Honor, you now have before you an Ambassador for Sobriety - someone who has taken it upon themselves to get sober, to remain sober, and to actively promote sobriety among others in the community. I know that their previous history isn’t the best, but their recent history suggests that they are willing and able to truly make a positive difference in the community, and in the lives of others. I’d like to see you give this person probation so that they can continue in their mission to help others on their road to recovery and sobriety.”
Here is another way of describing this same process:
BECOMING PART OF THE SOLUTION INSTEAD OF PART OF THE PROBLEM
Sometimes on felony DWI cases, the accused wants probation and the District Attorney wants to give them penitentiary time. That’s a BIG problem! Here is one of the best ways to deal with that problem. It involves a lot of effort on the part of the accused, but it almost always works.
The best way to handle this problem is what I call making the defendant part of the solution instead of part of the problem. To the judges and district attorneys of the world, someone with a DWI 3rd or more is part of a much bigger problem: There are way too many people committing DWIs, and many of them are hurting and / or killing people on the roadways. As long as the judge and the DA see a defendant as part of that problem, there is a good chance that the defendant might end up going to the pen.
I have created a way so that the judge will no longer look at such persons as part of that problem, but instead look at them as part of the solution to that problem! Here is how it works:
Many people facing a felony DWI charge will promise the judge to quit drinking if the judge will just give them a chance and put them on probation. Well, talk is cheap. That might be enough in some cases, but in tougher cases, we’ll need more. The first step is for the accused to stop drinking and get sober. Once a person has been charged with a third DWI or more, it’s pretty obvious that there is a problem. Well, NOW is a really good time to do something about it. If we don’t do something about it right now, the judge is going to do something much worse later. The judge is either going to grant a very strict probation with various alcohol monitors, or send you to the pen. Either way, the accused is not going to be allowed to drink for the next several years. And if the defendant isn’t going to be able to drink anyway, they may as well quit right now and get rewarded for those efforts by getting themselves sober before they are sentenced by the judge!
Many times, if the accused can get themselves completely sober, and prove that to the satisfaction of the DA before the sentencing, we can get a felony DWI busted down to a misdemeanor, and that is HUGE, my friend. Most felony DWI probations are for at least 5 years. The maximum felony probation is TEN years! If we can get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor, the maximum probation is TWO years! Which sounds better to you?
But that is only the first step. If we get the defendant sober, they are much more likely to get probation. But we want them to become part of the solution to the problem, remember? How do we do that? Well, while a person is working to get themselves sober, we want them to start helping other people get sober, too! Someone accused of a felony DWI can help other people that are having DWI problems – and they will get a lot of credit for doing so when it comes time for sentencing! Fortunately, I know a lot of those people with alcohol related legal problems, and I can put such people in direct contact with each other. And how do you think the judge is going to respond if we bring in three or four people to someone’s sentencing hearing, and they all testify that the defendant was instrumental in getting them sober after all of these years? They can testify at your hearing that you helped them get sober, and then you can testify at their hearing that they helped you get sober! You can all work together to keep each other sober and accountable, and you can all get a better sentencing outcome!
Everyone involved in this program should be extremely motivated, because they are all in the same boat: They all need to stay sober or risk going to the pen. They can help each other every step of the way, and you can be part of it! You have a lot in common with these people, and you’ll probably end up as very close friends with most of them. You’ll be going to war with them, and nothing forges life-long friendships like fighting a war.
All I need to get started is your permission to share your name and number with other people that are in your same shoes. Just tell me when you are ready to get started!
John Gioffredi - DWI Defense Attorney - Cell: 214-207-7782
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
- Letters saying how long someone has known you, and what a great guy you are, are better than nothing, but not much. Anybody can get someone to say they are a great guy, and it doesn’t prove any effort on your part.
- Letters saying they know you have been sober for a significant length of time now, and how hard you have worked on your sobriety, and how serious you are about your sobriety, and how much you have changed since becoming sober are quite a bit better than the first type of letter. The letter should include how the person knows you have been sober (I go to rehab with him, I work with him, I live with him, etc.)
- Letters saying “He has helped me stay sober for nine months” are better yet.
- Letters saying “He got me sober for the first time ever since I turned 16, and he has helped me stay sober for 9 months now. I’ve tried to quit a dozen times but always failed until he came along and took a personal interest in my sobriety. I owe it all to him.” These letters are like gold! This is what we’d like to have – at least two of them, but 3, 4, or 5 if possible.