Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Lawyers
The Best Lawyers in America
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Rating 10.0
National College for DUI Defense
National Collage for DUI Defense
American Council Of Second Amendment Lawyers

DUI Sobriety Court

In Michigan, if you have been found guilty of drunk driving within the last seven years and are arrested for a second OWI offense, you may be eligible for sobriety court. Generally, participation in a sobriety court program will not reduce your sentence in any significant way; however, it can be very beneficial in addressing underlying problems such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Sobriety Court Locations Offered

In Michigan, sobriety court is an option available to repeat OWI offenders who need help overcoming alcoholism or substance addiction. Sobriety court essentially is an intense form of probation that focuses on recovery from substance abuse. Rather than simply punish the offender, sobriety court can actually help an alcoholic or addict overcome their problem.

Sobriety court participants must agree to random home visits and take part in group and/or individual counseling sessions and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Additionally, participants must go before the sobriety court judge for a review hearing every two weeks. Participants are also responsible for all program costs, which can total $2,000 or more.

The legislative intent was to encourage sobriety courts and, in general, sobriety courts put the emphasis in the right place, meaning it puts the emphasis on sobriety and on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The problem is partly funding and partly personality, I think, of the various judges. Some judges do not really have the interest in being what is effectively a social worker. Because the sobriety court requires the judge to sit on the bench not in an adversarial, the judge is never in an adversarial position as such, but what is happening in the court room is not adversarial, the judge is just sitting there assisting what is really almost like a group recovery meeting.

Who Qualifies for it?

Not every district or circuit court has a sobriety court program. For those that do, you must still quality and be eligible for participation, and this eligibility varies somewhat depending on the court. In general however, order to be eligible for sobriety court, you must be convicted of at least two drunk driving offenses. Further eligibility requirements vary by county and usually include minimum residence requirements. You may not be eligible if you have any criminal felony convictions on your record.

Benefits of Sobriety Court

Sobriety courts are designed to help repeat drunk driving offenders address underlying substance abuse issues. In this way, they are very much like other addiction recovery groups, and the sobriety courts currently offered in Michigan have been successful in helping people overcome substance abuse problems.

Another potential benefit is the opportunity to get your drivers license back sooner than would otherwise be possible. Typically, a second drunk driving offense within seven years results in a one-year suspension of your driver's license; however, if you are enrolled in sobriety court, you may be able to get your license back after just 45 days, although you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Downsides to Sobriety Court

One of the biggest downsides to sobriety court is that participants often are required to give up certain Constitutional rights. For instance, if you are enrolled in a sobriety court program, the police or your probation officer may come to your home without a warrant to search for alcohol.

Another problem with sobriety court is that it involves a great deal of drug and alcohol testing, which can become an expensive burden for the participant to bear.

Future of Sobriety Court

The legislative intent was to encourage sobriety courts and, in general, sobriety courts put the emphasis in the right place, meaning it puts the emphasis on sobriety and on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The problem is partly funding and partly personality of the various judges.

Some judges don't really have the interest in being what is effectively a social worker. Because the sobriety court requires the judge to sit on the bench not in an adversarial, the judge is never in an adversarial position as such, but what's happening in the court room is not adversarial, the judge is just sitting there assisting what is really almost like a group recovery meeting.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
★★★★★
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
★★★★★
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.