Could Sobriety Court be an ideal choice in your OWI case?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Michigan’s operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws prohibit individuals from operating vehicles while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. These can all impact the ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Any motorist with an .08 or higher blood alcohol content (BAC) may face OWI charges. Drivers with BACs of .17 or higher, who test positive for cocaine or have previous OWI convictions on their record, may face enhanced penalties if convicted. The 18th District’s Sobriety Court may be an ideal option for individuals looking to break the cycle of substance abuse.

What is a sobriety court?

The 18th District’s Sobriety Court was launched here in Westland in 2013. It allows defendants with at least one prior OWI conviction on their records to participate in an alternative sentencing program. This initiative may not only help defendants avoid further convictions but provide them with a path to become sober — and remain that way.

How does the 18th District’s Sobriety Court work?

Defendants admitted to Westland’s sobriety court can expect to spend anywhere from 18 to 24 months enrolled in this program.

Four steps comprise this alternative sentencing program. Defendants participating in the sobriety court program may initially have their days consumed by the different obligations a judge requires of them. These may include:

  • Taking part in substance abuse assessments.
  • Attending group therapy.
  • Complying with random drug screens.
  • Attending court hearings.

These obligations decrease over time as defendants completes each of the four steps.

A judge may impose penalties if a defendant fails to make satisfactory progress in the program. There’s a strong possibility that the court will suspend a defendant’s participation in it if the imposition of sanctions for minor violations don’t appear to serve as enough of a deterrent.

Sobriety Court eligibility criteria

Your participation in this alternative sentencing program isn’t automatic. You must be a resident of Westland or one of its neighboring cities and be enrolled or employed in the area. Convicted felons are ineligible to participate in this program.

You must also be open to getting help for your substance abuse issues and be willing to abide by the court’s terms and obligations for a judge to consider admitting you to sobriety court. Your criminal defense attorney can advise you of your prospects for admittance to this program in your Michigan case.