Last Updated: November 20, 2023

Should I start counseling while my criminal case is still pending?

A lot of our clients have asked if they should start counseling before their criminal case is completed. In general, the answer is usually yes. Over 90% of Utah criminal cases are resolved by a plea agreement. When your attorney is negotiating the best deal for your case, she/he will…

A lot of our clients have asked if they should start counseling before their criminal case is completed. In general, the answer is usually yes. Over 90% of Utah criminal cases are resolved by a plea agreement. When your attorney is negotiating the best deal for your case, she/he will use the facts, the law, and mitigating circumstances to work toward negotiating the best possible outcome. Starting counseling gives your attorney an opportunity to present mitigating circumstances.

Mitigating circumstances or materials include things that can be presented to a prosecutor or judge to show that your case is less serious than originally alleged, that you are less culpable (responsible) for what happened in the case, or that you have taken steps to address whatever issues, concerns, or problems may have contributed to the events alleged in the case.

For example, a prosecutor might agree that a person charged with DUI does not need to be punished with jail time if he is going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and getting treatment from a counselor. Participation in counseling is not something that can be used against the person at trial. It cannot be used as “proof” that the person has ab alcohol problem. But it can be used to convince a prosecutor or judge that a lighter sentence or a better plea offer is appropriate.

Starting counseling while your case is still pending can have a very positive influence on ultimate case outcome. Consult with your attorney to ensure that your case strategy can be best coordinated with your treatment or counseling plan.

Originally Published: November 20, 2023

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