In the criminal justice system, whether in juvenile court or criminal court, community service by a motivated client can lead to astonishing consequences. Volunteer service can be through a school, a religious institution or a charitable agency. The key is a genuine effort by the client to right a wrong by helping others. A case can be diverted or dismissed, criminal consequences minimized, or jail avoided when the client takes the initiative to contribute something meaningful to society. In fact, community service is one of the foundations of pretrial intervention, the single best method to avoid a conviction for first offenders.
Volunteer service can help a client re-examine how he views himself in society. It can help a client feel that she is part of a community. Whether hurricane or storm relief, Habitat for Humanity, a community food bank, or volunteer work through a church, synagogue, or mosque, dedicated service to others who are less fortunate creates a foothold for the defense lawyer to demonstrate that his client deserves leniency. At the same time the client renews his or her sense of self-worth.