The goal of this unique program is to increase public safety by confronting the substance abuse issues of DUI offenders and their repetitive pattern of driving even while impaired by applying significant and overwhelming pressure on offenders.
The pressure, includes the usual array of sentencing options; confinement, probation, fines, community service, interlock devices and victim impact panels. The difference is, rather than being primarily punitive, this program focuses on the offenders' issues. It includes direct contact with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, substance abuse treatment counselors, law enforcement officers, and the whole range of people at area Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Hopefully, through those positive interactions and great efforts on the part of offenders, a good number of them will be able to negotiate their way back to good citizenship.
Participants are enrolled in the program and on probation for two full years from the date of sentencing. The first year is divided into four phases as shown:
Orientation (8 Weeks)
This is probably the most difficult phase of the program. Each new participant is required to meet with the program coordinator, probation officer and treatment providers where they become fully informed about the requirements of the program. All new participants must then sign an agreement regarding their participation and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. They are required to attend two group counseling sessions per week and three AA meetings. They also have at least two probation appointments per month and must attend all DUI Court sessions. Court is scheduled at two week intervals, usually on Thursday afternoons beginning at 4:00 PM. Participants are subject to random drug/alcohol screenings conducted at least two times per week and more often if deemed necessary by any element of the DUI court program.
Phase 1 (12 Week)
Early in the program, participants often find themselves minimizing, rationalizing, and even denying their use. For that reason, Phase One functions as an extended assessment period. The majority of this time is spent in group discussions focusing on patterns of use, history of consequences associated with use and, if applicable, past attempts to control use. This phase consists of one 3-hour group counseling session per week, documented AA or NA weekly meetings, random drug testing and attendance at all DUI Court sessions.
Phase 2 (17 Weeks)
Phase Two is really the active treatment and early recovery portion of DUI Court program. Specific requirements of Phase Two are based on the participant's experience during Phase One. Using the personal plan for change developed by the participant, the staff develops a specific program for each individual to reflect type, intensity, and frequency of services to be provided during this phase. For some, there may be no change in terms of program requirements. Others may see changes in check-in, probation appointment as well as AA/NA attendance requirements, reflecting their improvement and motivation for treatment. All participants will, at a minimum, continue to attend weekly group sessions during this 17 week of period and appear before the Judge two times each month. They are also required to meet normal probation requirements and are subject to random drug/alcohol testing.
Aftercare (15 Weeks)
Aftercare is the fourth and final phase of the supervised treatment portion of the DUI Court program. During this phase participants will focus on completing their personal goals for use/recovery and learn how to manage "high risk" situations. They will also concentrate on completing the requirements for driver license reinstatement.
Throughout this 15 week period, participants are required to attend two, 1.5 hour group counseling sessions per month, three AA/NA meetings per week and comply with all routine probation requirements, including being subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
The second year is reserved for Court monitoring through the Court's routine probation program.