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.