How many DUI’s is enough to justify jail time? This is a question that has vexed legislators, prosecutors and judges alike. The question was addressed again by a Pennsylvania appeals court after a man’s plea agreement for his 14th and 15th drunk driving convictions was rejected by the trial court. Essentially, the man agreed to spend 2 ½ to 5 years in prison pursuant to his plea, but the court found that the sentence was too lenient. Instead, the man was sentenced to a seven to 15 year sentence.
We find this story compelling not only because of the number of drunk driving convictions the man had on his record (15 over a 34 year period), it was the lack of options afforded to someone who appeared to have a overriding issue with alcohol. We had previously posted on the importance of DUI courts, and how they deal with alcohol abuse issues, and it merits revisiting.
DUI courts are specialized calendars where a judge’s docket focuses on repeat offenders. The emphasis is on changing “learned” behavior by holding offenders accountable for treating their addictions. The elements of a traditional court are present (i.e. attorneys, judges and probation officers), but DUI court also incorporate therapists and counselors to give the court the information it needs to create effective treatment protocols for each offender.
If the man we described above was in Colorado, chances are that he would have been eligible for DUI court. If you are a repeat drunk driving offender and have questions about DUI court, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.
Source: DenverPost.com, Sentence for Pa man’s 15th DUI too harsh, February 20, 2013