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Sobriety Court

Offers Repeat Offenders of OWI/DUI in Michigan a Road to Recovery and License Restoration. 

In Ottawa County, Michigan sobriety treatment courts are in Holland, Hudsonville, and Grand Haven. Sobriety Courts are in most Western Michigan Counties. These programs offer an alternative to traditional prison, jail or probation sentences for people convicted of non-violent crimes. The state's Supreme Court has sanctioned these treatment courts and are working to help keep people out of the criminal justice system. The defendants that successfully complete these court programs according to the state are less likely to be a repeat offender.

What Is Sobriety Court in Michigan? 

Rather than simply punish the offender, sobriety court can 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.

How Does a Defendant Qualify for The Sobriety Court Program?

To qualify for sobriety court, a defendant must be screened for that court’s program. This may require an alcohol assessment, and it may include an offer by the prosecutor or screening by the probation department of the judge to recommend acceptance. Thus, if the candidate passes the legal screening, the prosecutor's office will notify the Probation Department, who will then schedule an interview with the potential participant. The programs are designed for individuals with more than one OWI conviction. There are other requirements, such as the participant must be a resident of the county where the program is located. A program could reject you as part of their policy. Some courts will not allow entry into Sobriety Court if you have a history of violent criminal offenses. A defendant will have to plead guilty to the underlying misdemeanor or felony to get accepted into the program.

Facing a Sobriety Court

If I Qualify, What Will I Be Required to Do in Sobriety Court in Michigan?

Once accepted into the program, the Sobriety court requires the defendant to maintain a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. A participant will be required to attend regular meetings at the courthouse with the Judge running their Program. A participant will also be required to attend substance abuse treatment such as counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous. The Sobriety Court Judge will be given an updated progress report from the treatment facility for each participant. Normally, the treatment facility will routinely perform drug and alcohol screening on the participant. Participants will also be required to attend their probation appointments. Probation will also make sure the defendant has completed any community service, paid all fines and costs. Complying with sobriety court terms and conditions will also help the defendant avoid long term incarceration for their offense.

What Happens if I Fail to Comply with All the Rules and Regulations of The Sobriety Court?

It will be up to the Sobriety Court Judge to determine the punishment for each violation. The Judge may decide to terminate you from the program and re sentence you to a term of incarceration. For instance, a failed drug or alcohol test could result in termination from the program. Also, such things as failing to cooperate with treatment, or providing false or fraudulent information could result in termination. Normally, every violation of the program rules will result in a sanction. Sanctions could also include a short term of jail of increased testing and counseling.

Can I Get a Drivers License if I Am Participating in Sobriety Court in Michigan?

The Sobriety Court program allows certain eligible individuals that are convicted of drug driving offenses to obtain a restricted driver’s license after admittance into the program. To get this benefit of the program you must be eligible for the license, and it must be issued through the Sobriety Court.  Also, a driver’s license requires installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicles you drive and own. The restricted driver’s license is an important part of the program. However, not all participants are eligible for the license depending upon their current eligibility with the Secretary of State.   

If a Defendant Is Charged with DUI/OWI in Michigan and Has Previous Convictions, Sobriety Court May Be a Good Option.

In a case of multiple OWI’s a defendant should hire an experienced DUI Lawyer.

The attorney should be able to give a realistic prediction of the results, including best- and worst-case scenarios after an OWI arrest. The lawyer can also help a defendant apply for Sobriety Court if it fits their circumstance. The outcome of your DUI case will depend on many factors, but hiring an experienced lawyer will help you with all aspects of your case.   

Attorney Gerald R. Stahl is experienced in OWI and based in Holland, Michigan. He has represented DUI clients for over 35 years. He routinely represents people charged in all West Michigan Court’s. Sobriety Courts are in 58th District Court in Holland, Grand Haven District Court, Hudsonville District Court, 57th District Court in Allegan, and the Grand Rapids District Courts of 63rd and 61st. Even under some of the most difficult circumstances, an experienced defense lawyer can achieve a reduction of charge or a reduced sentence for the client. The client should always consider the future consequences of not being adequately represented in an OWI case in Michigan.