As of January 1, 2011, convicted repeat drunk driving offenders (or individuals who have serious substance abuse dependence) in Michigan were eligible to enroll in a local Sobriety Court in order to undergo an alternate sentencing option for their DUI conviction.
The Sobriety Court is for individuals who have at least two misdemeanor drunk driving convictions, or who have high blood alcohol content over .17 at the time of their drunk driving arrest.
Typically, individuals who pled guilty to the drunk driving charges asserted against them can petition to attend Sobriety Courts, in lieu of serving jail time. Each Sobriety Court has a residency requirement.
Read on to learn more about Michigan’s Sobriety Court program.
General Program Overview
The Sobriety Court program consists of four distinct phases. The phase placement will depend upon the participant’s Needs Survey result and physical/social assessment. If the participant is placed in phase one, then he or she must pass all remaining phases prior to graduating from the program. If the participant is placed in phase two, then he or she must pass phase 2, 3, and 4 prior to graduating. The same order will occur if the participant is placed into phase 3.
Each phase consists of 90 days of programming. The participant must successfully complete 90 straight days of programming in order to move onto the next phase. The judge, treatment provider, and the core team members will determine if the participant is ready to move onto the next stage.
Some of the common tasks associated with each stage consists of the following:
- A designated set number of alcohol and/or drug tests per week;
- Meeting with a sobriety court probation officer;
- Attending 12-step meetings; and
- Having a designated curfew usually ranging between 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Ongoing Alcohol & Drug Testing
Sobriety Court participants are required to submit to four alcohol and drug tests during the first ninety days of the program. Once this is completed, random drug tests will occur. Participants are required to pay for all alcohol and drug tests.
If a participant fails the drug test, his or her probation officer, or the Sobriety Court judge, will issue sanctions that may include the following:
1. Increased monitoring;
2. Community Service;
3. Jail Work Program;
4. Writing Assignments;
5. Phase Reduction; and/or
6. Jail Time.
Note, if the participant repeatedly violates the Sobriety Court rules, then he or she may be dismissed from the program completely. This may cause the participant’s deferred jail sentence to be imposed.
Once the participant successfully completes all required phases, then he or she will graduate from the program.
Connect with me for more information about the Sobriety Court program for Washtenaw County.