In a sad story, the Orange County Register reports that Man with 13 DUI convictions sentenced for probation violation. Judge Thomas H. Goethals sentenced Dennis Malavasi to six years in prison for a probation violation resulting from his 13th DUI. Mr. Malavasi had convictions for driving under the influence dating back to the 1970’s and missed the 10-year mark on his last DUI by only a few months. Driving under the influence is a “prior-able” offense and punishment becomes more severe after prior convictions for this crime. However, after 10 years, such prior enhancements wash out.
Mr. Malavasi had been given the opportunity to attend rehabilitation at the Salvation Army program. However, after a few months he checked himself out citing back pain. Many individuals with pain management problems self medicate with alcohol, according to the article Up to One Quarter of Pain Patients Self-Medicate With Alcohol. Experienced criminal attorneys know that in cases like this it is critical that the patient/client receive help not only with alcohol or substance abuse but also pain management to insure that the patient /client can successfully complete treatment. The same is true of underlying mental health issues.
Long term alcohol abuse has negative effects on overall health. Some of the increased risks of alcohol abuse include brain damage, liver failure, and an increased risk for some cancers, according to Effects of Alcohol – Health Effects of Alcohol.
I have represented many clients over the years in DUI and other related matters who have abused alcohol for decades. Some of my clients suffered not only serious health problems from alcohol abuse but also cognitive impairment. Even short-term drinking has been linked to memory loss according to Short-Term Drinking Has Long-Term Effects.
It is critical for criminal defense attorneys to recognize when a client has an alcohol problem and to link clients to treatment. Treatment works and many people have turned their lives around after receiving treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.
In many cases, including drug cases, DUI, domestic violence, child abuse, juvenile dependency, juvenile delinquency, and other cases that are alcohol-related, it is important for the attorney to get to the root of the problem and help a client when they want help. Treatment can also be an excellent alternative to incarceration for many clients. I have helped hundreds of clients avoid incarceration and punishment by guiding them to treatment resources, some of which are low-cost.
Clients seeking an attorney in an alcohol-related case should be sure that the attorney they hire is knowledgeable about alcohol abuse and treatment options and is sensitive to the client’s predicament.
Lauren K Johnson helps clients in DUI, drunk in public and drug cases every day. Contact our office to talk about your case.