DUI Courts

Building upon the collaborative drug court model, driving under the influence (DUI) courts are a relatively new area of the application of collaborative justice.

Drug courts since the early 1990s have been working collaboratively with law enforcement and treatment providers to provide a comprehensive program which significantly reduces the recidivism rate for those successfully completing a program which typically can last a year or more. Drug courts have a long established record of success in restoring individuals with addictive behaviors to productive lives. Many clients in drug court not only have drug abuse issues, they also abuse alcohol. The protocols are equally successful on both.

As an illustration of this, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), a national leader in promoting and educating court professionals in collaborative justice, has established the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) where this organization is leading in the promotion and education of collaborative justice DUI courts.  

DUI courts are believed to be mirroring the successes of drug courts, however, more research is needed. Recognizing this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2008 identified as a priority to “apply the strategies used in drug courts to DWI [i] cases in additional jurisdictions. These initiatives build the capacity of prosecutors to successfully pursue DWI cases to ensure that court ordered sanctions of serious offenders are monitored and completed, to prevent further recidivism.”

The expansion of DUI courts is a critical component in the overall strategy to reduce traffic fatalities. Preliminary research suggests that DUI courts are cost effective programs that increase public safety.

[i] DWI-Driving While Intoxicated

In 2006, the Judicial Council's Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee secured grant funding to start 5 new DUI courts applying the collaborative justice drug court model. Prior to this effort California courts have pursued such funding individually. The 5 new court programs were funded for 2 years allowing for start-up and operation. Jurisdictions chosen represented large and small county settings with both municipal and rural communities. The project was successfully completed December, 2009. Most of the 5 courts continued either by securing other funding, scaling down the program, or both.

For additional information contact collaborative.justice@jud.ca.gov