How to survive DUI pretrial release

Scott Douglas Moore

Written by

Government Attorney - Harrison, MI

Contributor Level 8

Posted about 5 years ago. Applies to Michigan, 1 helpful vote



Don't drink

Nearly every judge I've encountered prohibits the consumption of alcohol in OWI cases; many order this even in non-alcohol related cases. This can be a difficult condition to comply with if you typically consume a lot of alcohol every day. Consult with your physician or a treatment facility to detox successfully. For chronic drinkers, medical intervention may be necessary to safely wean off the stuff. Because scheduled or random testing is often ordered, it is important to take this seriously. The judge is unlikely to be sympathetic to pleas that it was only one drink, or that it was taken for on a special occasion. These are early days in the case, so it is important to show the court that you are cooperating and build up what credibility you can if your case is a close call. Finally, a bond violation hearing will only create additional issues for your attorney to handle. At this point, you don't need any distractions.


Go to meetings

Again, my experience is that most courts require defendants to attend at least one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting a week. This condition, while well-intentioned, can create resentment for the client and a burden on AA. But this is a court order and must be obeyed. When choosing a meeting to attend, you should consider going to Open Talks first. This way you will satisfy the judge and you will not have to share anything. Somebody will be happy to sign the sheet indicating that you've attended. As you go along, you may find that you want to participate. Remember, the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking. Given that the judge has ordered you to stop drinking, you certainly qualify for the duration. 12-Step programs are not for everyone, though. If it works for you, great. If not, try to be open minded and courteous of those around you. You will doubtless learn something worthwhile for yourself or someone you care about.


Consider an independent assessment

Should you end up entering a plea, the court is required by Michigan law to have you screened to determine whether you have a substance abuse problem. While the instruments used by probation departments are relatively accurate, you would do well to have your own test conducted. By seeking your own evaluation, you will have some control over this part of the process. A good independent evaluator will spend some quality time with and develop a more thorough case history. It could be that job pressures, trouble at home, or some other situation led to the arrest. Ownership in this process will ultimately benefit you regardless of the outcome of the legal matter.

Additional Resources

Free and Low Cost Substance Abuse Treatment Services

The Difference Between Open and Closed AA Meeetings

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