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Drunk Driver’s Sentence Requires Sale of Three Cars

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Penalties

A New York drunk driver was ordered to sell three cars as a condition of probation.  If you are convicted of drunk driving in Michigan, then could you also be ordered to sell your cars? Because all Michigan OWI cases involved driving while intoxicated by either alcohol or drugs, a judge may want to impose probation conditions that address these issues.

For a drunk driving in Michigan the law provides that conditions of probation must be lawful, reasonably related to the defendant’s rehabilitation, and pertinent to the offense.[i]  It was a similar law that allowed the judge in the case of People v. Donaldson[ii] to sell his three cars.  In this case the defendant pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Approximately three years later he appeared again in court and admitted to violating certain conditions of his probation, including the condition prohibiting him from owning or operating any motor vehicles.  When he pled guilty he did so with the understanding that he would be sentenced to 90 days in jail.  Thereafter, his probation would be reinstated with additional conditions being imposed. At the sentencing hearing the defendant was sentenced pursuant to the agreement.

The “additional conditions” of probation included that defendant dispose of the three motor vehicles he owned in violation of his probation. Defendant appealed with the sole contention that the court abused its discretion in imposing the condition requiring him to dispose of his motor vehicles.

The appeals court found that conditions of probation are appropriate when the court determines that they are reasonably necessary to insure that the defendant will lead a law-abiding life or to assist him or her in doing so, or are reasonably related to his or her rehabilitation. Further, that a condition of probation may be imposed if the court determines that it is “necessary or appropriate to ameliorate the conduct which gave rise to the offense or to prevent the incarceration of the defendant.”

In reviewing the underlying facts the appeals court found that the defendant admitted to owning and operating motor vehicles without a driver’s license while on probation, despite conditions prohibiting him from such activity. Consequently, the appeals court stated that “in our view, the additional condition imposed requiring defendant to dispose of his currently-owned motor vehicles is tailored to his offense and is reasonably related to his rehabilitation and necessary to ameliorate the conduct leading to defendant’s conviction.” Accordingly, it was determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the condition.

This is a New York case, and there is no telling if the same thing could happen in Michigan.  However, the law in Michigan indicates that the order of probation may include the following conditions:

  1.  incarceration in the county jail for not more than 12 months
  2.  a fine
  3. costs
  4. other assessments
  5. community service
  6. consent to wage assignment for costs, fines, restitution, or other assessments
  7. inpatient or outpatient drug treatment
  8. mental health treatment
  9. mental health or substance abuse counseling
  10. community corrections program
  11. house arrest
  12. electronic monitoring (tether)
  13. residential probation program
  14. special alternative incarceration (boot camp)
  15. conditions reasonably necessary for the protection of one or more named persons
  16. completion of high school or obtaining a GED
  17. reimbursement to the county for actual or per diem expenses not to exceed $60.00 per day incarcerated, if sentenced to jail.

This list obviously does not include the sale of automobiles.  However, Michigan law allows civil forfeiture of the car you were driving, so you may lose your car before you are sentenced.