The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

Study of Maricopa County Helps NTSA Set Guidelines for DUI Courts

It looks like the DUI Court program of Maricopa County is effective. So says a study conducted last year by the National Highway Transport Safety Administration. The study helped the NHTSA refine its Ten Guiding Principles for DUI Courts.

The study aimed to evaluate the concept of using specialized DUI courts. Maricopa County’s DUI court was chosen as the test case because it provided an early record of the basic and essential elements used in current DUI courts.

The study evaluated 421 random offenders who entered the DUI court program and followed their progression, including their success rates in the program as well as the average number of days that offenders were incarcerated.

The study also measured the rates of recidivism of those who came from the DUI court program versus those who came from standard probation programs, showing a lower rate among the former.

After the study of Maricopa County's DUI court program, the NHTSA set the guiding principles. Here's a look at some of them:

Who gets in to DUI court? DUI courts must establish clear criteria for who gets in to DUI court. Are they focusing on repeat offenders? Drivers with high levels of impairment? The target population needs to be defined.

DUI treatment plans must be developed. DUIs aren't usually isolated events, so an offender in the DUI court system needs to have his or her full needs addressed, to inhibit recidivism.

Supervision of DUI offenders. A DUI court should take care in developing increased supervision and monitoring strategies to impair the offender from future drunk driving.

Evaluate the DUI court program. The program should be evaluated and the results should be documented regularly. This helps the institution determine the success of the program and figure out areas that need additional resources.

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