Michigan DUI Defendants May Have to Pay Costs of Arrest

If you are charged with DUI in Michigan, you might end up having to pay for the time and labor of the police officers who arrested you.

Some communities in the state are helping fund police departments by charging impaired drivers for the costs of their arrest.

Critics of the practice say this is unfair because law enforcement agencies are getting paid extra for work that is part of their job.

But communities like Holland – which passed a “Cost Recovery Ordinance” last fall – say drunk driving arrests take more time and effort than other arrests.

From Michigan Capitol Confidential:

“We do more paperwork and forms on a drunk driving arrest than just about anything else,” Holland Public Safety Chief Matt Messer told the Holland City Council.

He said the arrest process takes at least two hours. The fees from charging drunk drivers extra are expected to bring the city an extra $50,000 a year.

The authority for cities to charge drunk drivers is granted by Michigan statute MCL 769. But some citizens, lawyers and judges question the practice.

“I’m not a friend of drunk drivers, but the fines and costs for OWI (operating while intoxicated) cases are higher than for any misdemeanor we handle,” Holland District Judge Bradley Knoll told Capitol Confidential.

Financial Blow to DUI Defendants

A growing number of Michigan municipalities are enacting cost recovery ordinances for drunk driving.

In some cities – Grand Rapids, for example – you can be billed without a conviction. In others – Grand Rapids, Southgate and Allegan – you can be billed even if you do not meet the .08 legal definition of impaired driving.

Cities charge defendants in one of two ways: by a fee schedule or by the actual expense, according to the Confidential.

As examples of fee schedules, Wyoming in Kent County charges up to $1.05 a minute. Shelby Township in Macomb County has a list of fees that include $125 for police, $150 for police and fire, $350 for a blood test, $100 to $150 for decontaminating property and $250 for an interpreter.

For a time, Grand Haven charged by the actual time expended and collected an average between $53,300 and $101,348 a year. However, it now uses a flat fee system.

And some cities – like Lincoln Park in Wayne County – considered charging DUI defendants but declined, saying it was “more work than it was worth to assess penalties against people who were likely unable to pay.”

Facing financial penalties in the wake of a DUI arrest? Contact a Michigan DUI lawyer for help.


Michigan Capitol Confidential http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/18685

Posted in: DWI
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