DUI probation violation Michigan - challenging the allegations or working out a deal by being proactive
When a client is put on probation, this means the judge decided that a jail sentence was not appropriate at the time of sentencing. This does not mean that jail is completely off of the table, and it does not mean that your sentence is final.
While on probation, there are a number of conditions to follow, and plenty of requirements to complete. For this reason, I try to have my client complete their sentence proactively so there are little to no requirements remaining.
Some common conditions of probation are no new criminal offenses, no use of alcohol and/or drugs, no travel outside of Michigan without permission of the court and to make truthful reports to probation.
Some common sentencing requirements are payment of fines and costs, community service, attendance at AA, counseling, educational classes and regular alcohol and drug testing. Failure to adhere to these conditions and requirements means a show cause hearing with your judge and a petition by probation to violate you.
If you violate your probation, the judge has a few options. The judge can not do anything, which is rare, the judge can extend your probation to a longer period of time, add additional community service, counseling and testing or send you to jail. Depending upon your criminal history, the present offense and the severity of the violation, all of these are possible. If sent to jail, you’re still going to be on probation when you come out.
When I work with a client who has been show caused or faces a probation violation, I put proactive actions into place immediately. Just like regular sentencing, we need to demonstrate a willingness to learn from the situation, and get back on track. I anticipate what the probation department may recommend to the judge, and what the judge will do with my client.
All clients are entitled to contest the violation, but in my career as a prosecutor and defense lawyer, I have only seen a handful of successful attempts of going this route, because the proof standard is lower for violations.
Assuming that my client’s goal is to “resolve” the violation with the judge, we have to go above and beyond what a judge may be thinking, and come up with jail alternatives.
For a DUI case in Michigan, a probation violation usually means being rearrested for a new DUI, or missing or failing a scheduled alcohol or drug test. A brand new DUI arrest is big trouble. Most judges are ready to throw my client in jail, especially if it happened within the court’s jurisdiction. A failed or missed test is also serious, but a client is less likely to receive jail time in this scenario.
Depending upon the level of violation, my client will increase their testing proactively. I may have my client volunteer to wear an alcohol tether, test 2-3 times per day on a home-testing device, and my client might check themselves into intensive outpatient or inpatient counseling, or attend an Impact Weekend. If we can self-impose tougher testing and setup a jail alternative than we have a much better shot at avoiding jail, and other devastating sanctions.
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