Depending on the individual case, I would recommend counseling or treatment before the first court date. If this is a DUI case, and let’s say it’s a second or third DUI, it would probably be very beneficial for you to go on your own accord to an AA meeting or an outpatient program. The judge may ultimately order it as part of sentencing if you are convicted or may even require it as a condition of your OR release (staying out of custody while your case is being litigated). It can also help for purposes of mitigation, by showing that you are taking this crime seriously or that you are making efforts to address the issue – like alcohol or substance abuse in a DUI. In some other cases, let’s say it’s a battery case or domestic violence case, sometimes it is advisable to get into an anger management program or to talk to a therapist about what happened if you concede that this is a pattern of behavior that you may need help addressing.
Sometimes a client may feel remorseful or may want to take accountability for their role in the offense but in many situations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is guilty of a crime, or that their participation in counseling is indicative of guilt. However, if this is a matter where the client is adamant that they are innocent of the crime or that they want to fight their case until a jury decides the outcome then there may be no incentive for them to attend counseling classes – evaluating the client’s goals and desired outcome is imperative in advising on whether or not to enroll in counseling or treatment.