Detroit, MI- When it comes to drunk driving, recidivism is a major issue. Statistics show that nearly half of all first-time OWI/DUI offenders go on to repeat the offense in spite of the legal consequences. To combat repeat OWI, lawmakers in Michigan began a pilot ignition interlock program that could be expanded statewide after a study showed it was effective in reducing repeat OWI offenses.
Judges in Michigan have had the power to order a repeat OWI offender to install an ignition interlock device– which keeps their vehicles from starting if they have been drinking– when they are convicted of two offenses within seven years or a third offense within ten years, according to MLive.com. But a pilot program tested in some Michigan counties shows that ignition interlock devices are more effective at combating OWI/DUI recidivism than license revocations.
According to the study, conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation, the state’s ignition interlock program proved to be three times more effective at reducing repeat OWI/DUI offenses, MLive.com reported.
Ninety-seven percent of participants in the pilot program successfully completed their probation and faced no additional OWI/DUI charges within a three-year period. Only .5 percent of program participants removed their ignition interlock and a scant 1.2 percent tampered with the devices.
Additionally, the study found that drug and alcohol use among participants of the ignition interlock program was significantly reduced and they were more likely to improve their level of education. The success and completion rate of the pilot program could lead to broader implementation of the program through Michigan.
For the study, the recidivism rates of five counties utilizing the ignition interlock program between 2011 and 2014 were examined, according MLive.
For some OWI offenders, an ignition interlock device may be ideal if they recognize they have a drinking problem and need help combating that problem. Ignition interlocks can keep them from re-offending, and give them some freedom while they work on their addiction.
Only a handful of Michigan counties are part of the pilot court, so if you are facing OWI charges and would like to participate in the ignition interlock program speak with a OWI/DUI defense attorney in Michigan today. Your Michigan OWI attorney can discuss the pros and cons of the program so you can make an informed decision about how to approach your case. Fact is, ignition interlock programs are not appropriate for everyone, and an individual may be better off in the long run by pursuing other options such as a plea bargain.
When you are facing any criminal charges, regardless of how minor, you will benefit from the advice and representation of a defense attorney. You can expect them to be honest and upfront about the penalties you are facing and what will work best for your personal circumstances. If you have been charged with an OWI, you have little time to make decisions that will impact your case for better or worse, don’t make these crucial decisions without speaking to an attorney firsts.