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Court Questions High Costs in Michigan DUI Cases

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Penalties Uncategorized

In the recent Michigan Supreme Court case of People v. Cunningham, the court was called upon to decide if Michigan law[i] provides courts with the independent authority to impose costs upon criminal defendants. This question was presented because Cunningham was ordered to pay $1,000.00, but there was no indication in the court’s order as to the basis for these costs.

The Supreme Court ruled that this $1,000.00 in unspecified costs was not consistent with Michigan law which provides courts with the authority to impose only those costs that the Legislature has separately authorized by statute.

If you are convicted of DUI in Michigan, the in additions to any allowable fine, the court will also order you to pay court costs.  As it relates to Michigan DUI cases, the most contentious issue about this court costs is often the charges for “costs of prosecution.”  Michigan DUI law does allow the court to order you to pay costs of prosecution if you are convicted of DUI because these are allowed by statute.

Specifically, the law says that in addition to allowing courts to impose “any cost in addition to the minimum state cost,” Michigan law[ii] also allows courts to order[iii] “reimbursement of the state or a local unit of government for specific expenses incurred in relation to the incident including but not limited to expenses for an emergency response and expenses for prosecuting the person.”[iv]

As detailed in the Michigan DUI law, these expenses for which reimbursement may be ordered include “the salaries, wages, or other compensation, including, but not limited to, overtime pay of prosecution personnel for time spent investigating and prosecuting the crime or crimes resulting in conviction.”[v]

However, when authorized, the costs of prosecution imposed “must bear some reasonable relation to the expenses actually incurred in the prosecution.” [vi]  Furthermore, these costs may not include “expenditures in connection with the maintenance and functioning of governmental agencies that must be borne by the public, irrespective of specific violations of the law.”[vii]

If you have been convicted of DUI in Michigan, and have been ordered to pay costs, including costs of prosecution, then it’s best to have a qualified attorney review those costs to determine if they are within the allowable limits of Michigan DUI law.

And, if you’ve been arrested for DUI in Michigan, then please contact the Barone Defense Firm today for your FREE no obligation case review.