Under Michigan Law, if you are convicted of 2 or more drinking and driving offenses within 7 years (or 3 within 10) your license is revoked indefinitely. A revocation, unlike a suspension, will not automatically expire or terminate. There is a mandatory one-year waiting period before the suspension can be reviewed. Moreover, if the first appeal is successful there is an additional one-year monitoring period where you must install a “blow ‘n go” device in your automobile. Any serious violations of the device will result in another license revocation. Therefore, when convicted of a second DUI in most circumstances you are looking at a MINIMUM of two years before you have a full license again. A DUI 2nd, for this reason, is a dramatic and life changing event. You’re put in a position where you are slapped with fines, fees, costs and court requirements yet have no way to drive to make a living or attend probation obligations. However, the State of Michigan has recently enacted a sobriety court program that allows individuals who would otherwise lose their license to sidestep the mandatory one-year waiting period. Our office believes this is an outstanding program as it helps to promote lasting sobriety through its license incentive.
What is Sobriety Court?
Sobriety court is a highly structured term of probation, which places its emphasis on encouraging sobriety. Normally this will involve graduated phases and mandatory AA attendance. With the new sobriety court legislation, offenders with a DUI that would normally lose their license are eligible for a restricted license before waiting the mandatory one-year period. However, if participants of sobriety court violate the terms, they are most likely looking at jail time.
How does Sobriety Court Work?
When a candidate is eligible and the sobriety court program has openings they will be screened prior to acceptance. This is normally done after the pretrial/acceptance of plea but prior to sentencing. Candidates must show a willingness to accept the terms of the program and be serious about their sobriety before they’re allowed to enter the sobriety court program. After starting the program, participants have their license revoked for 45 days. After the 45 days you must install a BAIID (also known as an “interlock ignition” or “blow n’ go” as stated above). The breathalyzer device has to remain on your car for a minimum of 320 days after the suspension. During this period driving is restricted for purposes of school, employment and court obligations. When you fulfill the mandatory revocation period by the state (often one-year) AND complete your sobriety court program, you will be eligible to petition the State for a full license. However, failure while attending the sobriety court program will not only result in a revocation of your driver’s license, but may also include time in jail.
Where is Sobriety Court Available?
Our Firm has assisted clients getting admitted to Sobriety Court in the following jurisdictions;
• Warren District Court
• Roseville District Court
• Clinton Twp. District Court
• Royal Oak District
Nonetheless, because this is a new program many districts are just now implementing it. We can advise you if the court for the city/township in which you’ve been charged offers a sobriety court program.
Can Sobriety Court be Transferred if My District Doesn’t Offer It?
YES. We have been able to assist clients with the transfer of their probation, from the original court to one that offers this program.
With the ever-changing landscape of DUI law multiple offenders now have the chance to save their license. Our Firm can advise you if sobriety court is available in your jurisdiction. Alternatively, we can assess if a if transfer is realistic for your case. We have been in the business for our 30 years and are happy to take your questions free of charge.