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Denver’s RESTART program targets repeat DUI offenders

Three years after it began, a program aimed at people charged with felony DUI appears to be making progress. Denver County’s RESTART program has allowed dozens of individuals to avoid lengthy jail sentences while helping them deal with alcohol addiction.

RESTART, which stands for Recognizing and Establishing Smart Treatment Alternatives for Recovery and Transition, was put in place in 2017 after the Colorado legislature made fourth and all subsequent DUI arrests felony offenses, which include harsher sentencing guidelines.

RESTART looks for alternatives to extended stays behind bars

RESTART is offered through the Denver District Attorney’s office and focuses on people who have been arrested four or more times for DUI, DWAI or DUI Per Se. The program recognizes that many repeat offenders suffer from alcoholism.

The multi-phase program includes conviction, jail, probation, community supervision, treatment and judicial oversight. Individuals are screened through the DA’s office as to whether they qualify for the program. If chosen, they typically serve a shorter jail sentence, where they begin substance abuse treatment.

Report measures progress after three years

Once offenders are released from jail, they are referred for treatment with providers who are contracted by the county. There, they find ongoing support through individual counseling and group therapy.

Denver7 News produced a recent report saying RESTART is having positive impacts on repeat DUI offenders. One program participant, who was arrested four times for DUI, said the program changed his life. He estimated that while he was arrested for DUI four times, he likely drove drunk on thousands of occasions.

Jail diversion programs give offenders a new outlook

For many repeat offenders, the program helps break a cycle of alcohol abuse, which endangers their own lives as well as those of others. Many say it offers hope that alternative programs are a better approach in many instances than longer jail terms.

If you are charged with drunk driving, an experienced DUI defense attorney will protect your rights and, when appropriate, look for alternatives to lengthy jail sentences, such as the RESTART program, which can help many people deal with alcoholism and other issues to get their lives back on track.

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