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Michigan Drunk Driving Conviction Sentencing Process

Michigan Drunk Driving Conviction Sentencing Process

No one should ever enter a plea of guilty to a drunk driving charge in Washtenaw County without first consulting with an experienced drunk driving attorney.

If you are charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) or another driving under the influence (DUI) under Michigan State law, it is imperative that you meet with an experienced, DUI defense attorney to receive legal guidance and counseling on how to best prepare for your defense. If you are convicted of a DUI, your attorney will help prepare you for the pre-sentencing investigation to help reduce the penalties and sentencing you may be subject to. Read on to learn more.

Overview of Sentencing

During a drunk driving case, a defendant can either plead guilty to the charge asserted against him or her, or the judge or a jury can render a guilty verdict after a trial. Upon the defendant's conviction, the judge will refer him or her to the court's probation department to undergo a pre-sentencing investigation and interview.

Pre-Sentencing Investigation

Under Michigan State law, a convicted drunk driving defendant must undergo a pre-sentencing investigation or interview prior to being sentenced for their drunk driving conviction. A substance abuse evaluation is also required for every convicted drunk driver.

The pre-sentence investigation is conducted by a probation officer. It will include a background questionnaire that inquires about personal history such as education, employment, family, criminal history and alcohol and/or illegal drug usage. Some judges order that the defendant undergo a substance abuse evaluation prior to sentencing. Other judges will order that the assessment occur within a certain period of time after sentencing. The probation officer or a certified substance abuse evaluator may use a variety of tests such as the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (M.A.S.T. Test), Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI), and/or the Needs Survey.

A numerical score is applied to the substance abuse test results. If a person receives a high score, then this tends to indicate that such person is likely to have an alcohol or drug problem and may need to enroll into an alcohol treatment program. The evaluator will prepare a written report that contains this information and any suggested treatment that may be necessary to combat any alcohol or drug abuse or addiction.

Based on the defendant's responses to the background questions and substance abuse tests, a pre-sentence investigation report will be provided to the judge at or before the sentencing to guide the judge on what action to take.

It is important that you speak with a drunk driving attorney prior to attending your interview with the probation officer in addition to appearing before the judge to give any final statements you may have before your sentencing is ordered. A drunk driving attorney will also discuss the mandatory substance abuse evaluation with you.

If you have been convicted of an OWI in Washtenaw County, contact Ann Arbor drunk driving defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life.

Sources
The Michigan Alcohol Screening Test

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Measurement Instrument Collection

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