Mitigation—The Good Guy/Gal Packet

Mitigation—The Good Guy/Gal Packet

Hi, I'm Charlie Roadman, Austin Criminal Defense Attorney. And today, I want to talk about the Good Guy Packet or Good Gal Packet. So what is it? Well, it's also referred to as a mitigation packet, and it's what a defense attorney gives to the prosecutor in order to negotiate a better deal or a dismissal. And it needs to be documents. And they can be all different types of documents, but the attorney has to give it to the prosecutor, so the prosecutor can put it in their file. Now, the negotiation for the plea bargain, it could also be for a dismissal. So it's just a stack of documents that the defense attorney hands to the prosecutor.

Now, these documents are not really about guilt or innocence. They're more about whether you're likely to get in trouble again. And that's if you've got a lot to lose, like you're moving towards a graduate program or this job type of situation that you're less likely to be reckless and get arrested again. And it almost always benefits a case. Even if it doesn't get a case reduced or dismissed, often the prosecutor will reduce the punishment based on these mitigation documents. So what types of documents are we talking about? First, they have to be credible and verifiable. You can't just write down on a piece of paper, "I accomplished something," and expect that to sway the prosecutor. You need proof.

And they need to be able to feel confident that they're legitimate documents and generally have some way to contact the people involved if they have any suspicion that it's not. Now, the documents should be about your past, your present, and your future. So things you've accomplished in the past, that's great. Things you're doing right now, that's better because this is after you got arrested. So the things in the past didn't stop you from getting arrested, things in the present could, and things in the future could because they're things you're moving towards. Now, you also want to put any proof that something, a conviction could cause a problem for it. If you're trying to get some type of licensing and a conviction could be a problem, the defense attorney wants to prevent that.

Present that to your prosecutor, to hopefully convince them to dismiss the case or do something that's not a conviction. Another thing is you want proof of your compliance with all bond conditions. So if you have a big mitigation packet, but you've been breaking all the rules of your bond conditions, that's not going to help. So the first thing you got to make sure you're complying with all the conditions that are currently on your bond are the things you're supposed to be doing. And also, you want to do anything that can be done in advance to show the prosecutor you're taking this seriously. So a lot of times, there'll be classes for a typical type of charge. And so you want to check with your attorney first. But you can do these classes in advance and show them that you're taking this stuff serious and you want a really good result.

And you just have to ask your attorney what they think is best for you in your situation. Now, why are these mitigation documents, why is this Good Guy, Good Gal Packet effective? It personalizes you. So the prosecutors, they don't really know anything about you, but what they're reading in the offense report. So being a real person helps. It distinguishes you from other people they've prosecuted for these same offenses. And if you've done more things and have more things going for you, they're going to think that it's okay to do a slightly less punishment. Now, you want to show that you have something to lose. And the reason we show you have something to lose is because that makes a prosecutor think you're less likely to be reckless in the future.

And then the final thing, these documents cover the prosecutor's butt for giving a good result. And that seems weird that attorneys would talk in a sense of covering your butt, but we do. Prosecutors and defense attorneys, they say the phrase, "You need to cover my butt." And that's what these documents do. It justifies the good result that the prosecutor will give. Now, what are some examples? Well, things that show career and education goals, letters of recommendation, proof of counseling, proof of enrollment in school, community service, awards, essay about your life, anything interesting about you at all. And again, ask your defense attorney.

Your defense attorney probably won't know you super well. So you can say, "What about this? What about this? Would this help?" Or you can just give him this stuff and he can decide whether it helps or not. It's really nice that when the defense attorney's in front of the prosecutor, that we're talking with him and we get to a moment where we're not sure where it's going to go, and you're able to pull out a document and go, "Look, he's applying to grad school." And that'll sometimes convince the prosecutor to do a little less or a better plea bargain. So ask your defense attorney what they want you to do. Now, just the art of providing mitigation to the prosecutor, I just want to explain this a little bit so you understand what we're doing.

We're literally handing them documents, we're emailing them documents, and we'll highlight what we think they should look at and why it's important and stuff like that. But it's like diplomacy. We got to be real careful. We can't say, "Dismiss this case because he's going to be a pilot," because they very easily are going to turn around and go, "Well, he should have thought about that before he got arrested or before he did this thing that got him arrested." Anyway, it's really gentle. We have to be subtle and we have to play it carefully because we don't want to provoke them. We don't want to get them indignant. So it's just a really subtle art of doing this. But the more things you give us, your defense attorney, the better the chances that we get a good result. I hope that helps. If you have any questions, give us a call.