Those who are repeat offenders for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs face heavy fines and possibly months of jail time.
To address the problem of repeat offenders, Florida has developed DUI Court—and there is one such program in Sarasota. Who qualifies for attendance and how does DUI Court work?
The goal of the DUI Court program is to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders. To achieve this end, the plan provides community-based treatment with the two-fold purpose of boosting offender productivity and increasing public safety. The Sarasota DUI Court is one of four in the state.
The way it works
All offenders interested in program participation are pre-screened for criminal history, current medical conditions and current medications. In general, applicants with violent offenses are not eligible due to safety considerations. Participants will enter group counseling sessions, AA and NA meetings and individual therapy. The plan also requires offenders to engage in community service work along with mandatory attendance at DUI School. Offenders must also attend weekly court meetings for a discussion of their progress in the program. Offenders who complete all phases of the program “graduate.” Those who do not meet the requirements must take on extra work such as writing an essay, attending additional counseling sessions or performing extra community service.
The state of Florida ranks third in the country in terms of alcohol-related traffic deaths. The DUI Court aims to change the behavior of DUI offenders who are alcohol- or drug-dependent. Participants in the plan comply with statutory requirements and base their success on completing every phase of DUI Court. Statistics demonstrate that the Court is working. Recidivism among participants decreases substantially and “graduates” of the program enjoy an alcohol-free lifestyle.