Do all counties have separate DUI courts?
Recently, the Cobb County, Georgia DUI court celebrated its tenth year in existence with a special ceremony. The DUI court gathered community members and allowed seven new graduates of the program to speak to how the DUI court has helped them gain sobriety and a new handle on life. Cobb County’s DUI court was founded in 2008 and since inception, over 525 repeat DUI offenders have entered the program and nearly 400 have graduated. The Cobb County DUI court illustrates the potential benefits of creating a separate DUI court with the goal of rehabilitation, rather than punishment. Our Atlanta DUI lawyers explain the history and current role of drug courts, as well as why this type of court can have positive effects, below.
The History of DUI Courts
DUI or DWI courts are a type of court that exist in some areas in the United States. While DUI courts have become increasingly popular in recent years, not every county has one. DUI courts use substance abuse treatments in an effort to assist those who plead guilty to driving while impaired or intoxicated. Some DUI courts are only open to repeat offenders or those with extremely high levels of blood alcohol at the time of their arrest. Today, there are approximately 200 DUI courts across the U.S. and twice as many drug courts that also allow in DUI offenders.
Generally, DUI offenders who enter DUI court must agree to refrain from drinking alcohol. DUI court participants might be subjected to random visits from law enforcement or probation officers, submit to urine analysis or blood alcohol tests, use an alcohol detection device on their car or person, and attend recovery support meetings. Some courts additionally require the completion of community service hours.
By completing DUI court, rather than being convicted and serving time in a traditional prison setting, defendants receive alcohol addiction treatment that they would not otherwise. For repeat offenders, completing DUI court could be the best option to avoid lengthy prison time and loss of their license. DUI court is not right for every person, but for those with an alcohol issue who want to seek treatment and prevent future DUIs, DUI court can prove a helpful option.