“Rehabilitated”

Aside from the high risk and the fugitives, the missed vacations and phones ringing at all hours, bail agents have a pretty good job. Occasionally we are handed a case that reminds us how effective the bail system can be.
One of my first defendants was brought in on a DUI charge. He’d had five DUIs in four years. His license was suspended, his car was impounded each time he was charged, but he’d never had to serve jail time. He was simply fined and had to pay court fees. Whenever his car was impounded, he’d go out and buy another used car for cash and drive the car without registration.
This time when he was arrested, he faced a mandatory three-year sentence. He asked me to post bail. I was concerned at first. He made it clear that he did not want to go to jail and since he was facing a mandatory charge, what were the chances he would show up for court? Then he explained why he didn’t want to go to jail. He had a young son who lived with his ex-wife, and he didn’t want to be away from his son any more than he was already. He didn’t want his son to have to visit him in jail.
Because he seemed so concerned about being separated from his son, I realized he wasn’t much of a flight risk. He wouldn’t want to skip town and leave his son behind, perhaps never to see him again. So I posted bail for him. He was a decent guy, he just had a serious alcohol problem.
His court date was a month away, so he enrolled in an Alcoholics Anonymous 30-day live-in rehabilitation program. Meanwhile, he was short on cash, so he decided to sell all his belongings. All he wanted to keep were his truck and refrigerator. I told him that I’d help him sell everything, so he gave me power of attorney. I sold everything for him and sent him the cash.
When his court date arrived, he explained to the judge that he had completed the rehab program and was enrolled in AA classes. The judge could see that his rehabilitation was going well, so he granted him a 50-day extension, under the condition that he return to the live-in program and continue with the classes.
On the next court date, the judge granted another extension.
The defendant spent eight months in rehab, getting extensions at every court date. After eight months sober, the judge was so impressed, he let the defendant go. His case was closed without him having to serve jail time. Because the defendant had been so proactive about getting his life in order, he didn’t have to disappoint his son by being sent to prison.
The judge ordered the defendant to stay in rehab for one more year and check in with the court regularly. Meanwhile, the judge exonerated my bail bond.
As many clients as I’ve bailed out over the years, I will never forget this guy.

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