Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Is It Advisable To Seek Pre-Trial Counseling In A Domestic Violence Case?


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

We find a lot of different types of cases where people want to immediately take corrective action in order to lessen the consequence as well as redirect inappropriate behavior. In drug cases we find people that want to admit themselves into inpatient rehab facilities, in DUI cases we run into the same scenario and with domestic violence cases we have situations where people want to engage in damage control by signing on for counseling. The problem with doing this is that when someone does something in the form of self-help, when it comes to Florida criminal law, if they do the right thing at the wrong time, it can hurt their case. Unfortunately most people don’t know when it’s the right time to do the right thing. So the first thing that someone should do if they are considering taking corrective actions or rehabilitative measures is to contact their attorney.

It is critical that they should have an attorney. There is a reason why someone is given a Miranda warning that specifically states you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to represent you. Criminal cases are so serious that they are frankly too dangerous to handle by yourself. Many people who are first offenders become confused by what they find on the internet and immediately begin engaging in self-help rather than finding the best criminal defense lawyer they possibly can. This is a major mistake and I’ve seen people try to do things to help their case that would have helped their case if they had done it in a proper time and sequence of events as their case unfolds over time.

Yet because they did it without the guidance of a lawyer, it actually harmed their case. When I am doing criminal cases involving any type of domestic violence and my client wants to take a look at counseling, anger management or something like that, I usually go for the best type of diagnostic evaluation possible. This type of evaluation always involves SPECT brain imaging. Then we find out exactly what types of brain problems led to the behaviors that resulted in an arrest. This is the single most powerful form of advanced damage control that I know. I’ve used it to save the career of a very high ranking military officer on more than one occasion. I’ve used it for defense contractors who were working in and around Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties and I’ve used it for a number of people who came to Florida on vacation and found themselves with a major felony charge like domestic violence with strangulation. The moment when one’s hand touches someone’s neck, there is a risk that the charge will be upgraded to domestic violence by strangulation which is a major felony.

In those cases where we want to use treatment as a form of damage control and really kill two birds with one stone, the second one being to correct inappropriate behavior, I believe it’s critically important to get the best diagnostic evaluation possible instead of jumping into treatment without a diagnosis beforehand. In some cases we can use counseling as a special condition of a negotiated dismissal. However, if someone does this on their own without the guidance of a lawyer, they are not going to know how to use this to help their case. Instead they will be confronted by a very experienced prosecutor who knows how to say the right things in the right way at the right time and has a lot of experience in saying these things to unrepresented criminal defendants in order to make them take an unfavorable plea bargain when they could have turned down and have a much better outcome in their case.

I’ve seen many a person who have handled their case without the assistance of experienced defense counsel only to call me later and say I’ve pled no contest because the prosecutor told me this was the best I could get, the prosecutor told me I would not have a conviction on my record and now I find out I can’t get back all of my hunting guns that the police took when I was arrested and I can’t own or operate a firearm which I’ve done ever since I was a kid. I love to go hunting and now I’m told I can never go hunting again. These types of things happen to people and then they contact me later. Some have done the same types of things but not in terms of firearm rights, they’ve handled their case on their own, they didn’t get the best deal possible and then they find out that for the rest of their life they are going to have trouble getting employment.

In some cases they find out they can no longer be employed in their career field ever again because they handled the domestic violence case on their own, got an unfavorable plea bargain that was sold to them as if it were manna from heaven and they find out later that there is virtually nothing they can do about it and they are stuck with lifelong collateral consequences that could have been avoided.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Counseling In A Domestic Violence Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 466-1522

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