Sentencing Repeat DUI Offenders

By Hon. David Denkin


It is safe to say without fear of contradiction that the traditional adjudicatory disposition process of incarceration, fines, community service and other mandatory sanctions is not working for repeat DUI offenders. (Repeat DWI/DUI offenders are defined as individuals who drive with a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater, or who are arrested for or convicted of driving while intoxicated after a prior DWI conviction.)

Punishment, unaccompanied by treatment and accountability, is an ineffective way to prevent recidivism and habilitate the offenders. Generally, the outcome for the offender is continued dependence on alcohol or drugs and for the community, continued peril.

There are proven strategies that work well in addressing these problems and reducing recidivism. They include:

  • “DUI Courts” or “DWI Courts.” DUI Court is not a diversionary program; although it is modeled, in part after the highly successful drug court concept that has shown considerable success in habilitating offenders with drug and alcohol addictions and reducing recidivism.
  • Staggered Jail Sentences.
  • Immediate assessment of post sentencing behavior which includes providing therapeutic consequences for bad behavior and rewarding good.
  • Post sentence monitoring by a judge.

The goal in sentencing repeat DUI offenders should be in large part to work toward abstinence from alcohol and drugs, thereby reducing recidivism and enhancing public safety through intensive supervision and treatment, including AA meetings, frequent alcohol and drug testing, and counseling.

Learn more by attending Impaired Driving Case Essentials, October 26-29, 2015 in Reno, NV.

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