Sarasota DUI Court: A Possible Option For Repeat DUI Offenders
With the establishment of the Sarasota County DUI Court in June of 2008, repeat offenders for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) were given another possible option for resolving their new DUI arrests. Although every case is unique and everyone’s personal situation is different, this program can provide an excellent option for the individual facing a 2nd, 3rd or even a 4th DUI charge.
The Program’s mission is “to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders by providing alternative community-based treatment, thereby increasing both offender productivity and public safety.” Since its inception, the presiding judge of the Sarasota County DUI Court has shown to be both fair and patient, often taking a personal interest in the individuals who appear before him. Over the past 6 years, I have had numerous clients enter the DUI Court Program, and as of today, all of them have successfully completed, or are in the process of successfully completing, the Program. Although the DUI Court is not for everyone, many individuals thrive in the structured format that the Program provides.
Generally, my clients are initially shocked at the time commitment required to complete the DUI Court Program. But if this time commitment is weighed against the time that will be dedicated to completing probation, this extra time becomes minimal. Generally, repeat DUI offenders face attending weekly AA meetings during the year that they are on probation. Depending upon the judge they appear before, they may be required to attend 7 weekly meetings. In addition, judges often order additional community service hours that are not required by statute. Add these conditions of probation to the additional jail time one will most likely serve, and the time required for DUI Court may be comparable.
Some of the greatest benefits that a person receives from successfully completing DUI Court is gaining a better understanding of how damaging drug and alcohol abuse can be to one’s life, as well as the tools to prevent this unfortunate situation from arising again. To learn more about Sarasota County’s DUI Court, go to the 12th Judicial Circuit Court’s website at http://www.jud12.flcourts.org/ProgramsServices/DUICourtSarasota.aspx.