The state of Michigan can charge you with operating while intoxicated (OWI) if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.08% or if you display erratic driving despite having a BAC below the legal limit.
Some people wind up facing OWI charges because they make a mistake in judgment when leaving a party or restaurant. Other people have elevated risk for an OWI charge because they struggle with alcohol abuse.
If you have an addiction to alcohol, driving while under the influence is a bigger concern for you. Rather than punishing those with an admitted alcoholism issue more harshly, the state of Michigan offers an alternate system to support those whose alcohol addiction has led to OWI or similar criminal charges.
Michigan has adult treatment courts for those with substance abuse problems
After a conviction for an OWI offense, an individual with alcoholism could qualify for a special post-conviction courtt. Typically, such proceedings are only available to those charged with a high-BAC OWI or those who have multiple offenses on their background.
The focus of Sobriety Court proceedings is to help the defendant connect with substance abuse therapy and the support that they need to overcome their alcohol addiction. Getting treatment because the courts require it can potentially lead to someone facing their chemical dependence, understanding what causes it and eventually overcoming it.
Sobriety Court can help you regain your driving privileges and can limit the long-term consequences you face because of an OWI charge. However, you have to qualify for the court proceedings and then comply with the requirements of the court. These might include installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle after the suspension of your license and complete substance abuse treatment.
Specialty courts can help turn a bad situation into a growth opportunity
Rather than an OWI just being an opportunity for the state to penalize you, it can turn into a chance for you to have a better and healthier future. Of course, avoiding a criminal conviction is often a better outcome than post-conviction specialty court for most people.
Having an honest discussion about what led to your OWI charge can help you decide the right approach to take when defending yourself.