December 11, 2018

8th Judicial District Rolls Out Special DUI Court

Colorado’s Eight Judicial District Court on Friday will introduce a new “problem-solving” tribunal specific to DUI cases in Larimer County. The Larimer County DUI Court will be the eighth jurisdiction in Colorado since 2007 to create a specialized DUI court that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, as a way to defeat recidivism in repeat DUI offenders.

Larimer County Magistrate Matthew Zehe will hear the first case this Friday morning, July 2. Of the new court, he remarked:

It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this new, specialized court. DUI and its tragic consequences present challenges for communities throughout Colorado and the nation, but it is my steadfast belief that this court will bring solutions to those challenges.

The way the Larimer County DUI Court hopes to bring about those solutions is based on “The Guiding Principles of DWI Courts” (pdf), a rehab-based primer on alternative prosecution for intoxicated drivers that was developed by the National Center for DWI Courts. Once repeat offenders are evaluated and cleared for participation in the DUI Court, they are subject to a specialized treatment plan that marries:

  • The psychological, through assessment and treatment of addiction and mental health issues;
  • The judicial, through compassionate judges who have a significant “buy-in” into the program and who perform community outreach with various stakeholders and agencies;
  • The correctional, through supervision, monitoring, and testing; and
  • The practical, through addressing an offender’s transportation and other related problems.

Offenders chosen to participate in DUI Court undergo assessment and treatment, regular drug testing for compliance, and frequent face-to-face meetings with the court. The rehabilitative program uses a carrot/stick approach to compliance, with incentives to reward positive behaviors and jail time as a disincentive to noncompliance. “The main goal of this court is to enhance our community and ensure safety for our citizens by helping repeat DUI offenders integrate back into the community in a safe, sober and productive way,” remarked Magistrate Zehe.

(image source: State Judicial)

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  1. […] other Eighth Judicial District news, Larimer County this month began operating a specialized DUI Court, the eighth such court in Colorado. DUI courts focus on rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, […]

  2. […] talked about Colorado’s problem solving courts here before (here, here and here). But did you know there are now more than fifty operational problem solving courts in sixteen […]

  3. […] other Eighth Judicial District news, Larimer County this month began operating a specialized DUI Court, the eighth such court in Colorado. DUI courts focus on rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, […]

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