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Michigan DUI Victim Impact Panel

A Victim Impact Panel (VIP) is usually a presentation made by people who have been impacted by drinking and driving in some way. These include people who may have been injured in drunk driving incidents or had loved ones injured or killed by someone who was a drunk driver.

The panels are usually held on a monthly basis.  However, some locations may only offer panels every other month and are offered in different locations all over the state of Michigan and throughout the United States. The point of the panel is to try to make a lasting impact on the attendees so that they will not take the risk of drunk driving. Many judges throughout the state of Michigan routinely order attendance at a Victim Impact Panel as part of the sentence in drunk driving cases.

Role in DUI Cases

Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel is frequently included as part of the sentence in many—but not all—Michigan courts.  The intent is to require those who have been convicted of a drinking and driving offense to listen to people who have been impacted by drunk drivers and how it affected their lives.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving website has a list of Victim Impact Panel locations in each state. People are not allowed to go to Victim Impact Panels in most locations unless they can show that they have already been sentenced in a drunk driving case.

Timing and Length of Panels

The panels are typically one to three hours in length, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as the primary organizer.  People come to the panels to share their stories with other people, generally, those who have been convicted of some kind of drinking and driving offense.

Typically, they are held in the evenings as this works well for many people who work during the day. However, it may not work that well for those who work at night.  It is important to know that most of the panels require the individual to be registered by a certain time, that the doors will be shut at a certain time, and that, if they are not inside by the time that the door is shut, they are not going to be allowed to attend.

Education Programs

There are alcohol education programs in Michigan and they are available at locations throughout the state. However, there are no DUI schools in Michigan like they do in Florida.  Accordingly, it is not mandatory.

Michigan does offer a number of alcohol education programs. Some are called Alcohol Highway Safety Seminars or Alcohol Highway Safety Education classes, and they are offered at a number of different locations throughout the state. There are also some weekend impact classes that are somewhat more in-depth that address alcohol education.