When you receive a DUI, you usually face charges in a criminal court. However, in some cases, you may be able to go to a DUI or DWI court instead. This is beneficial since you often avoid or reduce criminal charges, and receive treatment if you struggle with a substance use disorder.
Here’s what you need to know about a DUI court and the process of entering one.
How DUI Court Works
DUI court is like a regular courtroom in some ways, except in addition to a judge, probation officer, and defense attorney, you have treatment providers and counselors working together to create an effective treatment plan. Usually, DUI court treatment plans have four phases that have to be completed. Throughout the program, you will be monitored with drug tests, since abstaining from alcohol and other drugs is a requirement. You will also need to attend individual and group therapy, as well as make court appearances.
It’s important for you to take DUI court and your treatment plan seriously. The court will keep a close eye on how you’re progressing. You’ll need to carve out time to make all required court appearances and counseling sessions. Throughout it all, it’s best to be completely honest about how you’re getting along in the program. If you’re having problems, speak on them. Be prepared to let the court know how you plan on addressing those issues or if you need help doing so. Your treatment providers will help you work through any obstacles you are facing on the road to recovery.
Who’s Eligible for DUI Court?
Eligibility for DUI court varies by jurisdiction. You’ll more than likely have to plead guilty to your DUI. In some cases, you will be required to attend DUI/DWI court as a condition for probation; in other cases, you can voluntarily enter this program to get charges reduced or dropped. DUI court is available at both the felony and misdemeanor level.
You may not qualify for DUI court if you only have a single DUI on your record. Additional qualifications include being mentally capable, open to the idea, and residing in a specific jurisdiction. Sex offenders, violent offenders, and juvenile offenders usually are not eligible for DUI court. Some courts will also refuse applicants who struggle with a mental illness.
Things to Consider
For all its benefits, participating in DUI court is a massive responsibility. Should you succeed in court, your original charges can either be dropped or reduced. Should you fail, that failure can be used against you by the prosecution. You should also think about the fact that a judge’s reputation may be on the line by him or her allowing you to participate in DUI court. Your failure could reflect poorly not only on you, but the judge as well.
The greatest benefit to a DUI court is the chance to receive needed treatment for a substance use disorder. Oftentimes, you will even be given assistance in finding employment if you lost your job. If you’ve been hesitant to seek help for an addiction, the incentive of dropped charges can motivate you to enter a rehab program.
Rehab After Work has an addictions awareness and DUI program that can help you fulfill treatment requirements, but you don’t have to wait until a judge orders you to get treatment. If you are concerned about a DUI conviction or your drinking habits, we encourage you to get in touch with us. The professionals at Rehab After Work are here to answer any questions you might have about treatment. Call us at (610) 644-6464 to see what course of action is right for you.