Idaho’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Courts and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts use a comprehensive approach to address the underlying causes of driving under the influence. The approach involves a collaboration of various criminal justice actors, including judges, probation officers, and community-based service providers. DUI Courts focus primarily on altering the behavior of alcohol and/or drug-dependent offenders arrested for DUI or driving while impaired (DWI). Misdemeanor/DUI Courts are similar to DUI courts, but allow offenders with misdemeanor charges other than DUI or DWI to participate.
In Idaho, there are eight Misdemeanor/DUI Courts and four DUI Courts serving participants in at least 15 counties. The DUI courts are located in the counties of Bannock, Kootenai, Nez Perce, and Twin Falls. The Misdemeanor/DUI courts are located in the counties of Bingham, Bonneville, Butte/Custer, Caribou, Madison/Jefferson/Fremont, Oneida, Power, and Teton.
Participation in DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts in Idaho is voluntary. For each court, the admission process determines eligibility of offenders by examining three key issues:
· Offenders are not eligible if they have committed any current or prior violent or sexual offenses.
· Offenders are eligible if they have undergone an assessment to determine if they have a substance use disorder.
· Offenders are eligible if they have been assessed to determine their risk level for criminal behavior (as determined by the Level of Service Inventory – Revised). They should be classified as medium-high to high risk to participate.
Once a potential participant meets the eligibility criteria, and the DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court team agrees that the offender should be accepted, the offender is asked if they want to participate. Those who “accept” to participate enter and begin the process of DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI court. Those who are “accepted but decline” are routed through the traditional criminal justice system.
The main program components of the DUI Courts and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts across Idaho vary by location, but most share similar objectives and procedures. The following is an example of a DUI Court in Kootenai County, Idaho.
Kootenai County DUI Court
The Kootenai County DUI Court requires participants to complete four phases of the treatment court program. Phase 1 includes:
· Random weekly drug testing
· Twice-monthly appearances before the judge
· Attendance at 30 self-help (Alcoholics Anonymous [AA]/Narcotics Anonymous [NA]) meetings in the 1st month
· Meetings with a probation officer at least 4 times a month
· Attendance at 3 group sessions per week while also attending individual sessions with a primary counselor
· Installation of an Ignition Interlock device for a minimum of 60 days
· A minimum of 2 days on the Sheriff’s Labor Program
The DUI Court follows a graduated sanctions approach, so that as a participant fulfills the requirements in the first phase, by phase 2 the requirements are less severe. For instance, participants are still required to complete weekly random drug tests, but they are only required to attend at least two self-help meetings a week, as opposed to one a day. Participants only appear before the judge as scheduled, and they are required to meet with their probation officer at least twice a month, instead of four times a month. In addition, during phase 2, participants are also eligible for a restricted license; eligibility is determined by a participant’s commitment to the program.
By phase 3, participants are still required to submit to drug tests once a week on a random basis and attend two self-help meetings a week, but they only appear before the judge and meet with the probation officer as scheduled. Participants are only required to attend one group session per week but must still meet with their primary counselor for individual sessions. In the final phase, phase 4, participants are only drug tested at least once a month on a random basis. They appear before the judge and meet with their probation officer as scheduled (usually once a month), and they must attend at least two self-help meetings a week.
Program participants are sanctioned if they do not comply with treatment requirements or probation conditions or do not attend mandatory meetings. Possible sanctions include return to a prior phase, increased AA/NA meetings, increased drug testing, electronic monitoring, jail time, or community service hours. In order to graduate, participants must have at least 180 current, continuous, clear/sober days that do not include inpatient time. They must also prepare a graduation speech and present it in court.