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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

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Probation Violations: What to Do If You are Caught Drinking… Again

Being arrested for drunk driving and losing your license can be devastating. Your situation gets even worse if you are ordered not to drink as part of your probation and you are caught doing so anyway. This all but guarantees you’ll face the harshest possible penalties and in all likelihood, not be driving for quite a while.

If you’ve been accused of a probation violation and your freedom or driving privileges are at risk, what do you need to know?

Speak to an Attorney about the Facts Pertaining to the Violation

Working with an attorney is the best chance you have of regaining your driving privileges or at least facing a less severe penalty. If you haven’t worked with an attorney thus far, now is the time to speak to someone. Make sure you work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident, even if it means paying a bit more.

Facts play an important role in your case. Some facts will help you prove you did not violate your probation, so make sure when you are speaking to your attorney he or she understands exactly the circumstances surrounding your supposed violation. But also realize that the facts can get you into trouble. For instance, if the facts show you consumed alcohol when your probation stipulated you not drink, that’s a fact that’s going to cause more harm than good.

Violating probation by consuming alcohol after the judge has ordered you not to do so is not something that will sit well with said judge. He or she gave you instructions and you blatantly disregarded those instructions. Essentially, the judge tried to make things easier for you and you disobeyed and tried to make your situation more difficult.

One of the most important things your attorney can help you do is paint a positive picture for the judge. Sure, you made a mistake and violated your probation by drinking, but otherwise you’re a really good person. Your attorney should point out that you lack a criminal record more serious than the issue at hand (if this is the case) and that you are a positive influence in some way in your community.

Worst Case Scenario

Let’s say you’re dealing with a worst case scenario situation: You’ve violated your probation by consuming alcohol. Perhaps it wasn’t the first time either. And maybe you don’t have a great deal to offer in the way of being an upstanding member of your community. You’re just a regular person who made a mistake and then made a second (or third or fourth) mistake.

It might be in your best interest to present options to the judge regarding your probation violation. In some cases, this can help the judge avoid the most obvious response – to send you to jail.

If it’s been difficult for you to stay sober, maybe it’s time to visit a counselor or participate in a rehabilitation program. For some, attendance in a sobriety program is part of their probation, but if this was not the case for you, volunteering to do so could lighten the loan regarding penalties for your probation violation.

Ultimately, your attorney can help you sort through the specifics of your situation and determine the best route to take.

If you would like to know more about parole and probation in general in Michigan, check out the Michigan Department of Corrections Website.

And for more information or to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can help you with a probation violation related to OWI, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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