Wisconsin OWI Court Changing Lives

Problem-Solving Courts One of the Most Effective Ways to Reduce Drunk Driving Recidivism

As first reported on Wisconsin Public Radio, an OWI Court in Wisconsin is helping to transform lives.  Wisconsin’s first OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) Court opened in 2006.  Since then, collaborative or problem-solving courts such as the one in Waukesha County, have been helping people get treatment for alcohol addiction.

Drunk driving is a problem for every state across the country.  A tragic statistic is the number of repeat offenders.  Too many times people receive multiple drunk driving offenses within a short-period of time.  Many of those people are suffering from an underlying dependence or addiction to alcohol.  Punishment such as hefty fines or even jail time, do not seem to deter repeat offenders.  That’s when a DUI/OWI court becomes more effective.  It is a collaborative effort between the criminal justice system, licensed counselors, attorneys and mental health advisors.  Everyone works together to help offenders get the treatment they need to stop drinking.  If successful, an offender may get a reduced jail sentence or avoid jail altogether.

OWI/DUI Court programs are not necessarily easy.  Many times, problem-solving courts require weekly in-person appearances by the offender to ensure they are not drinking and completing court ordered requirements.  Most programs geared toward treatment for underlying substance use disorders have found that alcohol monitoring combined with swift sanctions for non-compliance is the most effective combination.  OWI and DUI courts across the nation use required breath testing and Continuous Alcohol Monitoring devices to ensure participants are not drinking.  The alcohol monitoring holds participants accountable to their sobriety.  Failure to comply with court orders can result in immediate consequences such as jail time.

Read more about Wisconsin’s OWI Treatment Court.