If your night out on the town culminated in an arrest for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, you may soon be introduced to the Athens-Clarke County DUI/Drug Court.
Drug Court is a team-oriented concept that involves judges, law enforcement, the Solicitor-General, the public defender’s office, probation officers, a court coordinator and substance abuse treatment professionals. Team members cooperate and support participants who attempt to address and combat their substance abuse problems that landed them in trouble.
Participants attend biweekly court sessions called status conferences where they meet with their team and update their progress. The purpose of this special court is to offer early treatment intervention for those who struggle with substance abuse. One study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed the following:
— Repeat DUI offenders who graduate from this type of court were 65 percent less prone to get arrested on an additional DUI offense.
— All participants had recidivism rates of only 15 percent no matter if they graduated or were cut from the program. Offenders with similar charges who didn’t attend DUI court had recidivism rates of as much as 35 percent.
DUI/Drug court is not appropriate for everyone, and for best results, the participant has to really want to make some changes in his or her lifestyle. However, it can turn lives around for the better.
It’s important to understand that an arrest does not equal a conviction and a sentence to go to drug court. There are legitimate defenses to allegations of driving under the influence, and your criminal defense attorney can help you explore those possibilities.
Source: State Court of Athens-Clarke County, “Athens-Clarke County DUI/Drug Court Participant Handbook,” accessed Nov. 20, 2015