I’ve already covered how my proactive program helps inside the courtroom with the prosecutor, judge, probation and outside the courtroom in my client’s life, but I also wanted touch on a few additional thoughts on felony DUI cases.
When you’re charged with a felony in Michigan, prison is now on the table. In Michigan, a jail sentence is a firm number, and usually ends up being less time served. When sentenced to prison, you only get a minimum number, but the maximum always remains in place; you must also be paroled out; there is no automatic return home date. Going to prison for a DUI case in Michigan can mean a very long time away from your friends and family. Although a third DUI in Michigan could mean up to 5 years in prison, and a DUI causing death could be 15 years in prison, jail is still the most likely outcome for felony cases.
In fact for a DUI third offense, there is a mandatory 30 day jail sentence that must be imposed by the judge. While work-release, house arrest and other alternatives were used in the past by judges, most Michigan judges are now following the 30 day jail minimum without these alternatives. In fact, most judges I come across usually have 60 to 120 days jail in mind when it comes to a third offense DUI.
When I work with a client who is charged with a third offense DUI, we may be able to work toward a misdemeanor reduction, which avoids a felony record, 5 years worth of prison on the table, possibility of keeping a driver’s license, and the mandatory jail sentence. This is quite rarely offered, but in some Michigan counties it is a real possibility. This result doesn’t just happen, it must be earned, and my program provides the tools and resources to get it done, and get it done well.
The first thing any client who is charged with a felony DUI does on my program is begin testing 2-3 times per day daily for alcohol. There is zero benefit of the doubt from anyone once you’ve had 3 or more DUI arrests. The client will also get into intensive counseling and hit an AA meeting 3-5 times per week. These are minimal considerations. I typically add a few other requirements into the mix.
Getting my client started on the program provides the client an opportunity to climb out of the very deep hole they have dug for themselves. It’s likely their own families and friends have turned on them at this point, and the community views them as nothing more than a very dangerous and untrustworthy criminal. I try to provide the client with something new, something they have never had in their life. I offer a rigorous program, providing structure and unlimited opportunity to change the perception of their case. Following my lead could mean avoiding a felony, jail, prison and loss of the ability to drive. Each felony DUI in Michigan presents it’s own challenges, but also opportunities to create a healthier client and a safer community. I will not even consider a client charged with a felony DUI if they are not willing to dig in deep, and follow my lead 100 percent.