By Chris Robinson
The DUI Court Program is meant to save the lives of innocent drivers while simultaneously combating alcoholism and DUI recidivism. Early reports are showing that this highly intensive program is proving effective, and this means that its use is likely to grow over the coming years. The programs provide benefits for the defendant and for society at large, so it’s really a win-win scenario. They are always something that those charged with DUIs should consider if they hope to avoid serious consequences.
What are Drug and DUI Courts?
The law in most areas of the country allows for lengthy jail sentences for those who have been convicted of more than one DUI. In states like Georgia and Florida, for instance, a second DUI conviction can land a person in jail for up to one year. This applies to DUIs related to drug use as well. Drug and DUI courts allow the offender to undergo a court monitored program to get their drinking or drug use under control.
These programs often restrict an offender from drinking anything containing alcohol whatsoever. Certain ankle monitors can actually test a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at any point during the day, and these devices, along with random blood or urine tests from law enforcement officials, are meant to prevent any alcohol consumption. In addition, it is usually mandatory to attend treatment programs and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Some of these programs enforce a curfew on the participants which are monitored by random curfew checks. Violations of the rules of the program result in sanctions against the participants that could result in fines, jail time, or dismissal from DUI Court Program. Dismissal, of course, would result in a jail sentence that is possibly longer than what the participant would have originally received had they not entered the program.
There are several benefits of the DUI court program for those who have been charged with one or more DUIs. The most obvious benefit is that they won’t be facing any major jail time. These courts are meant as an alternative to incarceration, and that is often what makes many offenders more willing to participate in them.
In addition, these programs give offenders a chance to get their lives on the right track. West Palm Beach auto accident attorney, Michael Steinger has been quoted saying that about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their
lives, whether they are an alcoholic or not. Studies have also proven that those with multiple DUI or drug offenses are more likely to be addicts than the general public. Drug and alcohol addictions are serious problems that can lead to ruined relationships, lost employment, incarceration and even death. When these courts are successful at helping someone kick their addiction the possibilities in their life could expand exponentially, but the participant has to be willing to put in the work that it takes to lead a productive life without the use of drugs and alcohol.
Is The Program Effective?
The most important question that people ask about DUI and drug courts is whether or not they work. While information is always being collected, initial reviews of the program would indicate that the courts are having a positive effect. Sure, there will be those who will slip through the cracks, but initial data in some areas showed that these programs cost five times less than incarceration. In addition, the National Drug Court Institute found that $2.14 is saved in the criminal justice system for every $1 that is spent on drug and DUI courts.
One of the first DUI courts, in fact, was shown to have reduced recidivism from 45 percent to 13.5 percent. This means that people who were possibly facing serious addictions were able to get their lives on the right track and refrain from driving under the influence. The courts are so effective, in fact, that Jeffrey Runge – who is the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – recommended that DUI courts be used to reduce the occurrence of DUI.
Driving under the influence is considered a serious crime throughout most of the country and can, in most cases, lead to very serious consequences. The repercussions for driving under the influence increase if a person receives multiple DUI charges. This is a common occurrence since one of every three DUI arrests in America happens to be someone who’s already been charged with the crime before. DUI and drug courts, however, are becoming a common way of dealing with these repeat offenders. This means that it’s important for every prosecutor, defense attorney and defendant to know more about these programs.
As a former bar owner, Chris Robinson has made a concerted effort to combat drinking and driving by understanding DUI laws and supporting programs such this. If you ever find yourself injured as a result of someone’s negligence stemming from the use drugs or alcohol, West Palm Beach auto accident attorney, Michael Steinger will focus on protecting your rights and he will act in your best interest.