In part 1 of this article, we began our examination of probation in Michigan DUI cases. We noted that, as a general rule, every person convicted of an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated, the legal term for what everyone just calls “DUI”) offense is going to placed on some kind of probation. Statistically, more than 98% of all DUI cases that make it court in Michigan DO NOT get dismissed, so this means if you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s pretty much a given that you are going to wind up on probation. Exactly what kind of probation, however, can – and will – vary from case to case.
We closed out the previous installment by discussing the critical importance of the mandatory alcohol screening, something that is part of the larger PSI (Pre-Sentence Investigation) process. The end result of the PSI is a sentencing recommendation, written by the probation officer, and sent to the Judge, advising him or her exactly what kind of sentence to impose. This matters because, in the real world, every Judge follows this recommendation VERY closely, if not to the very letter. In that sense the recommendation is really a blueprint for what’s going to happen.
To be sure, there are some recommended terms of probation that can be modified IF the Judge can be convinced that there is a better option. This, of course, means that it’s the lawyer’s job to find those options, and then successfully persuade the Judge to go along with any proposed modifications. However, there are also some parts of any DUI probation recommendation that are almost universally standard, imposed in every case, and basically non-modifiable. For example, one of the first conditions of probation is so basic, it doesn’t even have to be said: Stay out of trouble.