A promising development in Michigan drinking and driving law is the passing of a recent statute that allows for people in a sobriety court program to be eligible for a driver license, even if they have been revoked. Many of the district courts in Oakland County have a sobriety court. What sobriety court is is an intensified probation that requires a large amount of participation between the probationer and the court. As part of a sobriety court sentence, the participant becomes eligible for a special driver license after 45 days of being in the program, so long as the court approves. This license is not without conditions, as a mandatory interlock device is installed in the participant's vehicle prior to driving.
The real benefit to the sobriety court driver license is for people who have pled or have been found guilty of second offense operating while intoxicated. Normally, this results in a revocation of license for a year minimum period. Participation in sobriety court allows that person to continue to drive, even though they are technically revoked.
There are issues that have been coming up with sobriety court licenses, and they revolve around what happens when sobriety court is completed. Although it would make sense that the successful participant receive their license back, the reality is that they still have to go through the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division in order to get their license back. And just because they have completed sobriety court, that is no guarantee that the DAAD will give them a license. The grey area in this type of situation is whether the successful participant loses their sobriety court license upon completion of the program. Because of the unknown, we recommend to our clients that they begin preparing for the DAAD hearing from day one of probation and file for a license while they are still in the sobriety court program.