If you are convicted of a first offense, misdemeanor DUI in Washtenaw county, Michigan, you may be sentenced to probation in lieu of serving jail time. I have found that most judges in Washtenaw county are most concerned with imposing sentences designed to help you avoid future DUI arrests and convictions. Judges in other Michigan counties may sentence you to jail time, even if it is your first DUI conviction.
Washtenaw County Sentencing Process
Prior to being sentenced, you will be referred to the court’s probation department or to a substance abuse assessment for a sentencing or treatment recommendation. The probation officer or assessor will ask you a series of questions about your employment status, background, criminal history and history of alcohol or drug use. The substance abuse assessor will ask you a series of questions and may give you a test to determine if you have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. The probation officer will prepare a final report once and recommend the appropriate sentencing. The substance abuse assessor will make a recommendation ranging from education to intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment.
The sentencing judge relies on the recommendation and report from the probation officer and/or substance abuse assessor to determine your particular sentence. Washtenaw county judges frequently adopt those recommendations. However, the judge has discretion to impose a lighter or more severe sentence than what is recommended. In felony DUI cases, there are sentencing guidelines that must be considered by the judge. The judge cannot make an upward or downward departure from felony sentencing guidelines without giving appropriate justification on the record.
In the state of Michigan, everyone convicted of driving under the influence is required to submit to a substance abuse assessment and evaluation. Some judges order that the assessment take place within a certain period of time after sentencing. As stated above, some Washtenaw county judges order the assessment before sentencing and rely on the recommendation in determining your particular sentence.
As a drunk/DUI driving attorney, I help my clients with preparation for their pre-sentence interview and/or substance abuse assessment. I can advise you on what to expect in the interview.
Probation Terms and Conditions
The length of your probation (if any) will depend on the nature of your case, whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony, in addition to the particular judge who has heard your case.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, your probation term may range anywhere between six (6) to eighteen (18) months depending on your judge. Sobriety court probation is typically eighteen (18) months to two (2) years in Washtenaw county. Probation for a felony DUI is usually a minimum of two (2) years. Of course, a felony DUI conviction will often carry a sentence of jail or prison time as well as mandatory treatment.
While serving your probation term, you will be required to report monthly to your probation officer. You must report whether you have moved, changed employment, or had any police contact. The probation officer will ask whether you have used or possessed any alcohol and/or illegal drug. You will be subject to testing to see if you have used alcohol or drugs. The probation officer will monitor your progress and completion of any education classes or substance abuse treatment programs in which you are required to enroll. The judge has the power to make your probation term “reporting,” “non-reporting,” “report by email,” or “report by phone.” Most probation officers will want you to report face-to-face a minimum of one or two times at the beginning of your probation. You will be required to pay for monthly probation supervision, testing, classes and treatment programs. These fees are in addition to any fines and costs imposed at the time of sentencing.
Common restrictions the court places on probationers while serving their term consist of the following:
1. No use or possession controlled substances and alcohol
2. Refraining from being arrested or charged for a crime
3. Report monthly to the probation officer
4. Attend classes or treatment programs
5. Remain in the state of Michigan unless you have court approval to leave
6. Continued employment
DUI Probation Violation
If you are accused of violating any terms of your probation, you will be afforded a hearing before the judge who sentenced you. If the judge believes you have violated your probation conditions, you may be sent to jail for a short period of time or the full statutory term or your probation term may be extended.
Contact me if you have recently been arrested for a DUI. I can help you stay out of jail and get the DUI charges against you reduced or completely dismissed.