There is no doubt that the United States is suffering another substance abuse spike. Oxycodone and Fentanyl poisonings are in the newspapers every day. Many of us know people who have struggled with some form of substance abuse. Perhaps, we’ve struggled ourselves. When a defendant is charged with a crime, oftentimes, substance abuse can be traced back to the commission of the crime. The defendant was impaired while committing the crime, was drug seeking at the time, or was drug dependent and selling drugs to support his/her addiction.

Substance abuse can be a mitigating factor. If substance abuse played a role in the crime, the defendant should be treatment seeking as soon after arraignment as possible. Front loading mitigation certainly bolsters the impact of mitigation at sentencing. A defendant’s consistent attendance at and participation in recovery for a span of time brings credibility to the overall direction of the case.

Much like other mitigating factors, substance abuse can be linked back to specific physical or psychological trauma. Not only can chemical/alcohol dependence arise out of violence, but it can also be a hereditary or learned behavior. The family of origin will yield a treasure trove of information on culture, coping skills, domestic violence, etc. We always recommend collateral interviews with not only family, but extended family, neighbors, and others who had a consistent peek into the inner workings of the immediate family. Careful attention should be paid to large transitions such as housed to unhoused, middle class to impoverished, or even humble to wealth. Celebrity brings its own issues into a client’s life. Significant transitions can contain a huge number of changes/adaptations in the defendant’s life, which can cause anxiety, stress, and even trauma. A parent’s coping skills can be a factor in how a child learns to cope.

At Downward Departure Specialists, we perform a thorough investigation. No stone is left unturned. We gather the mitigating factors and find the right expert to evaluate your client. If you have a client that was suffering from addiction at the time of the crime, let us help evaluate the case for mitigation. We believe that people deserve a second chance and that long-term recovery and success should be on the table for your clients.

When you need a mitigation specialist that gets results for your clients, call Downward Departure Specialists at 916-224-4680.