Understanding California’s DUI/DWI Courts
Based on drug court models, several jurisdictions within the California court system have implemented DUI/DWI courts for multiple offenders. Collaborative courts, such as ones for repeat DUI offenders, Veterans, drug offenders, and mental health disorders, generally focus on rehabilitation and community treatment in lieu of strict incarceration.
According to the California Courts website, the goal of a DUI/DWI court is twofold:
- Reduce the number of traffic fatalities and people who are driving while impaired; and
- Address the underlying substance use disorder and any mental health disorders.
Typically, DUI courts are reserved for individuals who are repeat offenders. They usually involve treatment and require a clinical assessment. During the assessment, the offender must show signs that they are willing and motivated to change their behavior. By addressing the underlying addiction or reliance on alcohol, it is hoped overall recidivism will be reduced.
DUI court participants must be willing to undergo regular supervision and monitoring including drug and alcohol testing. Many courts rely on continuous alcohol monitoring through a device that is worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a given period. During that time, any alcohol consumption is reported to the court and can result in additional penalties or being kicked out of the program.
Studies show that DUI courts are successful in reducing recidivism and can make an impact on individuals who go through the program. The court requires accountability and regular court appointments to ensure that the offender is maintaining their sobriety and complying with all orders. While not always easy, DUI courts may offer a positive alternative to incarceration.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney. There may be options available including DUI/DWI court.