Interviewer: I know this depends on the case, but how often are alternative punishments to the traditional jail available for people that commit crimes? Do these alternates include house arrest, electronic monitoring, and community service?
Stuart Austin: When we talk about house arrest, that’s usually not a sentence, but that’s a bail condition while waiting for the case to come to fruition or to end. With regards to community service, that’s an alternative sentence, and probation is an alternative sentence.
Now, many towns have specialty courts. We talked about the drug court, but there’s also a specialty court for veterans, there’s a specialty court for human trafficking, and there’s one for mental health. By going into one of those you may end up with a much better ending to your case than you would in one of the regular courts. An experienced attorney should evaluate and determine what court is best for you and what course of action is best.
Do People Exhibit the Same Reactions When Being Charged with a Crime?
Interviewer: It’s very depending on the case and circumstances, but it’s there. Here’s a real good one: What have you learned about people’s behavior and their reaction to being arrested and prosecuted for crimes? Are people usually repentant and upset they did it, or do they not care? How do they react to the whole criminal justice system and this process?
Stuart Austin: Each person is different, meaning each client is different. I’ve represented a woman who was arrested for DWI and she was completely taken aback by the whole procedure. For her birthday the next year, she took a group of her friends in a limo and took them through what she kind of went through and she wanted me to try to get her into the jail so they could see that, and I said, “That’s just going a little too far.”
Then I have people who are outraged, they feel they did nothing wrong and that they shouldn’t have been pulled over and the police officer was rude to them and they are just really angry at the system for the way they’ve been treated.