DUI in Oakland County
Without a doubt, a person with a DUI in Oakland County will face a greater number of potential consequences than someone with a DUI in Macomb:
With but one exception, Macomb County District Courts do not assign Community Service. With NO exceptions, every District Court in Oakland County does. Some Wayne County District Courts hand it out; others don’t.
In certain Macomb County Courts, a person can walk out of Court after a DUI with NO Probation, or perhaps Non-Reporting Probation. Probation is a given in Oakland County, and seldom, if ever will it be Non-Reporting; it’s the length that we’ll be working to keep to a minimum. Wayne County, again, “splits the bill.”
In Oakland County, some degree of regular “testing” is frequently a part of Probation. In Macomb and Wayne County, that’s less often the case.
Oakland County typically “loads up” the kind and number or classes and programs it hands out compared to either Macomb or Wayne.
Yet there is one thing, or “flaw” that all the Courts, regardless of location, have in common that can be used to your advantage. As the saying goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Part and parcel of the legal process in all DUI cases is that after a person has worked out a deal to some charge (most often a deal to a less severe charge), but before the Judge can actually Sentence them, they must report to the Court’s Probation Department and be interviewed as part of a Pre-Sentence Investigation (or “PSI”) that requires, amongst other things, that they complete a written alcohol assessment test. This test is numerically scored: The higher you score, the more likely it is that you have or are at risk to develop and alcohol problem. The lower you score, the less likely that is.
Lower is better, and my job is to help with that…
Over-diagnosis of an alcohol problem, or the risk that a person will develop a problem, to the extent that a Probation Officer can “diagnose” anything, is a chronic problem in the Court system. It would take volumes to scratch the surface of this issue, but the bottom line is that a Lawyer needs to understand the clinical and diagnostic criteria used by these tests in order to protect the Client from being saddled with classes and counseling that can last until the stars burn out. Courts inevitably use the less accurate, “over-the-counter” type of tests that are scored, rather than interpreted by an actual Clinician. This shortcoming can be used to your advantage.
I know how these tests work. Beyond my own studies, I am involved in formal University, post-graduate level study of alcohol and addiction studies. I know how to prepare my Clients to take an alcohol assessment test and avoid a high score. In fact, we’ll spend about 2 hours at our first meeting alone jus going over how to do that.
I also know how to present these things to the Judge. This is where the sometimes “tough” attitude of certain Oakland County Judges can be an asset. Rather than play “loosey-goosey” with the rules, when the Probation Department predictably evaluates a DUI Defendant as being “at risk” (it’s easy to get into the habit of seeing anyone whose drinking gets them Arrested as being “at risk’), and I can show (as is most often the case) that they do NOT meet any diagnostic criteria for having a drinking problem, or being especially at risk to develop one, many of the Judges will have no choice but to agree.
One must always remember that a Judge must live in the jurisdiction of his or her Court. As much as there are socio-economic differences between different places, there is often a different “feel” about a place. Royal Oak is “cool” and hip, whereas the Grosse Pointes are far more staid and traditional. These differences will inevitably show up in the Courts as much as anywhere else.
Beyond all of this, it just helps to know not only that Oakland County is different, but how it’s different. Even within the County limits, there are vast differences between the Judges. In fact, sometimes, in the same Court, you can find 2 Judges as different as night and day. It may not matter so much to you how Judge “A” in Oakland County is different from Judge “B” in Macomb County, or Judge “C” in Wayne County, but it surely matters that your Lawyer does.