Interviewer: What would you say are some of the mistakes people make once they’ve been arrested that hinders their ability to defend the case or makes the situation even worse?
Stuart Austin: Just that sometimes, it’s lack of knowledge, meaning not knowing that there are drug treatment courts out there, not knowing that there are certain requirements that the law has to provide in order to convict you or in order to go forward.
What we were seeing a few years ago was that the Nassau County Lab was experiencing a number of issues and as of recently they’ve shut down based on the violations that it had. This is the lab would be testing all the drugs and deciding whether they were misdemeanor weight or felony weight, or even if it was or was not a drug. Because it was shut down, Nassau County was sending all their testing out to Pennsylvania. That practice was expensive for them, as well as time-consuming.
We were finding that if we pushed them, we received much better offers than did lawyers and lay people who were unfamiliar with the lab closing. During the time frame, we had a little more leverage than we normally did to push for a non-criminal disposition or a little better offer for our clients.