Much is said about the dangers of drunk driving during the holiday season. The number of public service announcements warning people not to drink and drive illustrates this point, but not much is known about the process after someone is arrested on suspicion of DUI. Indeed, many people arrested for DUI in Arizona do not fit the profile of hard core offenders, but for those who do, it is likely that they will be referred to DUI court.
DUI court is an offshoot from traditional courts in that their main focus is to change the offenders' behavior while holding them accountable for seeking treatment for their addiction. DUI court is not for all offenders. It is directed towards those arrested with blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .15 or above (which would be charged as extreme DUI) and people with prior drunk driving convictions.
These courts were founded based on research indicating that punishment alone was not effective in deterring future drunk driving offenses. It also recognized that combating alcohol addiction required a multifaceted approach that included treatment, counseling, and testing in addition to traditional sentencing.
Despite the criticism that DUI courts coddle offenders and don't do enough to punish offenders, a number of reports suggest otherwise. Especially the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) critique of the Maricopa County DUI Court Program. In a nutshell, researchers found that offenders who completed the program were less likely to reoffend compared to those who did not.
If you have been arrested for extreme DUI in Arizona, or are facing a subsequent drunk driving charge, a Phoenix criminal defense attorney can advise you on DUI court.