Michigan OWI 2nd Offense and the Issue of a Drinking Problem in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties - Part 1
There is nothing good about picking up a 2nd Offense DUI charge anywhere. In fact, depending on where the charge arises, it's fair to say things simply go from bad to worse. This article will focus on those individuals who use that 2nd Offense charge as a life-changing wake up call and start dealing with a drinking problem, and how that can positively affect the outcome of their case. This article will be based upon my 20 years' experience as a DUI Lawyer who has made a nearly lifelong study of Alcoholism and Recovery, and how those concepts are so fundamental to handling DUI cases. It's a long, involved subject, so our discussion of it will be broken into 4 installments.
The exact statistics are debatable, but it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of people who pick up a 2nd Offense Drunk Driving charge have an alcohol problem. Under Michigan Law, a 2nd Offense DUI within 7 years makes a person a "habitual offender," resulting in additional penalties and mandated alcohol treatment. In other words, the State basically concludes that a person who gets a 2nd OWI within 7 years has an alcohol problem.
Except for the truly rare person facing a 2nd Offense DUI who DOES NOT have an alcohol problem, there are really 3 kinds of people in this situation:
- Those in Denial, or who just don't see a problem (yet),
- Those who sense something is wrong, but are struggling to control or fix it, and
- Those who finally have the light switch flipped and really get it.
I think that most people fall into the 2nd group, those who can no longer deny that there is some kind problem, but who have not yet clearly defined it. These are the people who have had, to some extent or other, that "lingering feeling" I mentioned in discussing those who finally "get it."
At a minimum, most people sitting in jail waiting to be Bonded out on for a 2nd DUI know they "can't do that again." Exactly what that means will be the subject of an internal debate raging inside them. And this provides a convenient stopping off point to discuss what I see, time and time again, as one of the hallmarks of a drinking problem and one of the landmarks of Recovery.