May 12, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

On January 12, 2007, DUI Court was implemented at North Justice Center. This is a project that Orange County has already undertaken in the Harbor Court with much success. The goal is to enhance public safety through the reduction of recidivism in DUI driving. The program is very tough on offenders. The DUI Court program requires offenders to undergo treatment for substance abuse in conjunction with education, judicial monitoring, formal probationary supervision and frequent alcohol and drug testing.

South County has realized, since the programs inception in October 2004 a reduction in repeat offenders by 10%.

DUI Court is voluntary for the offender. The program targets those drivers who have at least one prior DUI arrest. Once accepted into the program (in lieu of jail time), the offender must meet very strict requirements in order to “graduate”. The participant will have weekly probation visits, counseling sessions, alcohol testing three times a week, self help meetings four times a week, court attendance twice a week, a curfew and electronic confinement at home. These requirements are met in four phases and usually take the offender 14 months to complete.

In order for someone to qualify for DUI Court, they must first be willing to enter a guilty plea to their misdemeanor DUI case filed at North Justice Center and also fall within the following criteria:
• Must have a prior misdemeanor DUI offense (not conviction)
• Must be an adult • Live in Orange County • Have no violent offenses or drug-sales convictions
An individual is not eligible for inclusion into DUI Court if he/she has the following:
• Is a juvenile • Lives outside Orange County • Is already on parole • Has a gang affiliation • Has a mental health issue that would interfere with the ability to comply with the program’s requirements • Has any felony offense • Has a DUI collision with significant injuries

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