art of mitigation

Not every DUI case is winnable. That is a fact. Law firms that emphasize victory at all costs sometimes overlook an equally important of overall DUI representation.
A win at all costs mentality may be adverse to your best interests, so make inquire whether your attorney will pursue a dual strategy of  intensive investigation and litigation coupled with strong mitigation preparation.
Mitigation work is essentially a hedge against not getting an outright win in your DUI case.
To mitigate is defined as:
  • to lessen in force or intensity wrath, grief, harshness, or pain.
  • to make less severe: to mitigate a punishment.
  • to make milder or more gentle; mollify; appease.
  • to become milder; lessen in severity.
If a DWI case can’t be won outright, a good DUI lawyer knows that a strong case for mitigation is essential.
Your lawyer should be interested in your personal life. He or she should want to know about your job history, your family situation, your service as a volunteer or in the military. Your lawyer may also want to get information from those who can vouch for your character and stability. This information may be presented to a prosecutor in plea negotiations, and/or to a judge at the time of your sentencing.
The idea is to paint a picture in the prosecutor’s and the judge’s mind of you as a decent person who made a bad mistake in judgment.
What can you do to help?
  • Gather letters of referral.
  • Gather awards.
  • Gather proof of medical and family hardships.
It may also help your case for you to get evaluated by an alcohol professional, and then start a course of alcohol education or treatment if prescribed. You may also decide to start attending AA meetings to show a track-record that you are taking the possibility that an underlying alcohol issue caused your legal problems (judges and prosecutors appreciate this).
Make sure that you discuss mitigation early with your attorney so that he or she can have adequate time to prepare your file in case litigation or plea bargaining does not produce a dismissal or reduction to a non-DUI.