Notice: New Directions is changing its name to US Court Assessments. Rest assured, you'll get the same high quality assessment services.

Using Clinical Assessments to Help Defense in Court

As a busy attorney, you have an extremely full schedule and want to focus on the bottom line of successfully winning cases for clients. With the right assessment partner, however, your clients will undergo a professional online assessment that can help streamline the defense process, saving you and your clients’ valuable time.

US Court Assessments provides thorough, accurate assessments that defendants can use to strengthen their case in court. Our assessments can also provide your clients with action items they can start on before their court date. For example, if the evaluation shows they have a substance abuse issue or significant risks, they can start treatment and education before the hearing. This type of initiative is often well-received by judges.

How to Find a Clinical Assessment Provider for Use in Your Client’s Defense

Some attorneys may be reluctant to have their clients seek an assessment. They may be concerned that the evaluator is simply attempting to sell additional services, or that it could negatively impact their client in court. Choosing the right assessment provider can eliminate these worries. US Court Assessments is an assessment provider with one goal - to provide quality, thorough independent assessments.

When you are looking for an assessment provider, there are many ways you can help determine which one is the right fit for you and your clients, including:

  1. Asking for advice: Leaders in your criminal defense association likely have worked with professional evaluators before and should have recommendations for assessment providers they trust. If you are unsure or would like to find additional resources, US Court Assessments is happy to answer any questions to see if we would be a fit for you.
  2. Know what to look for: Only you and your clients know what you need in an assessment provider but keep an eye out for assessment providers who are responsive, thorough, and provide good customer support. US Court Assessments has responsive support and conducts evaluations remotely so your clients can be assessed from the comfort of their own homes.
  3. Trustworthy: You don’t want to engage an assessment provider you cannot trust. In some cases, an assessment is the first step in selling treatment options and rehabilitation packages. While US Court Assessments may recommend treatment, our evaluators are not involved in selling and will not pressure your clients to spend money on a certain service or treatment center. We are not affiliated with any treatment center so you can trust us as an unbiased resource.

Once you’ve selected an assessment provider that works for you and your clients’ needs, you’ll want to get comfortable with using the reports in court.

Using Clinical Assessments in Court

You and your client will receive the results from the assessment in plenty of time to use it effectively in your case. You can present the findings to showcase your client in a more positive light.

A client that obtains an assessment immediately after a criminal charge has a few advantages when appearing for arraignment or pre-trial hearings. They have demonstrated an awareness that their use of substances or mental health is a possible factor in their behavior. That’s a plus in court. Additionally, they now have a professional or “expert” opinion on those issues. That opinion will either provide proactive steps through clinical recommendations, which the client can act on and thereby improve their profile, or it might make an argument that the behavior was more situational, ultimately leading to a reduced or dropped charge.

There is a possibility for a variety of positive, win-win outcomes for you and your clients with an assessment, including:

Showing Assessment Results in Court

When presenting assessment results in court, it is important to do so in a way that is easy to follow and understand, without taking up too much of the court’s time. Remember these tactics when presenting and submitting assessment results in court.

  1. Take ownership: If your client’s results do show that they have a substance abuse problem, acknowledging this and showing what they are doing to work on the issue can go a long way.
  2. Start tackling recommendations: If the assessment provider recommends treatment, educational courses, or other tasks, your client can start on them in advance of the court date, showing they are proactive.
  3. Use to negotiate plea bargains, dismissals, and diversion programs: Results of the assessment may strengthen your case for one or more of these options. A third-party assessment can help add weight to your arguments.

As you work to integrate assessment options into your defense strategy, it is important to think of them as useful add-ons, not a replacement for your old strategies. The assessment is part of a balanced defense strategy, not the strategy in its entirety.

If you have questions about US Court Assessments and our offerings, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help with any questions about the process.

Need an assessment? We can help.