"DUI Court" refers to a treatment program offered in many jurisdictions throughout the State of Georgia. It is typically for repeat DUI offenders who the prosecutors and judges deem have issues with substance abuse. This program is difficult and should never be entered into without first looking at every option in your case. Your case needs to be first investigated before even considering this program.
DUI Court is an intensive, zero tolerance program that is overseen by a State or Superior Court Judge. There are many rules and intricacies involved with the DUI Court, so you will want to discuss with your attorney at length whether or not it is a good option for you. The program has monthly fees, weekly treatment and bi-weekly court appearances before the judge. YOU CANNOT MISS ANYTHING OR MAKE ANY MISTAKES. That is the reality of DUI Court in Georgia.
DUI Court is designed to get the ultimate amount of accountability from you by forcing every square peg into a very round hole. Life is a series of misunderstandings and accommodations. People are late. People make mistakes. People need to have expectations reset and changed. Unfortunately, in DUI Court, such mistakes are "understood" with sanctions ranging from more classes, more community service, and of course more time in jail. NEVER GO INTO A DUI COURT PROGRAM UNLESS 100% COMMITTED TO FOLLOWING EVERY RULE AND TAKING EVERYTHING COMPLETELY SERIOUSLY. Otherwise, you will likely spend more time in jail than had you simply been punished up front.
In the plea bargaining process, DUI Court may be discussed as a possibility for you if you have multiple offenses regarding drugs and/or alcohol and you are a resident in the county where the charges stem from. The Court system cannot force you into a DUI Court Program, rather it is something that you agree to and it is a treatment plan that you are in following your conviction as a term of your probation.
Most DUI Courts are arranged into a series of phases, with the first phase being the most intensive and then participants begin moving up over time until a graduation date approximately one year after being in the program. Be aware, the DUI Court Program in Georgia is very intensive and is not for everyone. If you fail to do everything you ae told to do, you will face sanctions. Those sanctions can range from additional community service to time in jail.
DUI Court Programs typically involve in the first phase weekly court appearances, drug/alcohol testing and intensive counseling on both a group and individual level. Usually participants are made to sign a 4th Amendment waiver allowing DUI Court personnel total access to their homes and vehicles. If any drugs or alcohol are found, that is a violation and immediate lock up typically follows.
The good news about these programs are that they offer a treatment option for repeat offenders that can be used in lieu of straight jail time. The bad news is that these programs are not easy and have little flexibility. If you travel for work or live with roommates, it is nearly impossible to successfully comply with the rigid terms of the program. When you are in the program your home and place of work can be searched 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You should never join a DUI Court Program in Georgia unless your attorney has looked at all possible defenses and all possible alternatives. To evaluate whether this option is a good choice for you in your case call to discuss DUI Court and everything involved therein.
Drug Court is an accountability court that typically lasts two (2) years and requires you to successfully complete various phases prior to graduation. While in the program, individuals pay monthly fees, perform community service, attend drug and alcohol counseling classes, attend AA/NA meetings, be subject to random drug and alcohol screens, have full-time employment, etc. Upon successful completion of the program, the charges against the client are dismissed.
However, if you get caught up in the program and have violations or sanctions, the program can become a never ending cycle of doom. When being taken into the program, clients enter a plea to the charges for which they have been arrested. This is known as a blind plea. The client is not sentenced, and the case is held pending your efforts in the program. In essence, the court holds a prison sentence over your head. Additionally, the client enters into a drug court contract where he or she waives many of their constitutional rights. In the event you are terminated from the program, the judge can sentence you to anything within the parameters of the law for the offenses in which you entered the plea, which in most instances will involve being sent to prison. Further, depending upon individual performances, the (2) two year program can be extended or prolonged. For example, if you have failures or issues while in the program, you can be sent to inpatient rehabilitation, serve county jail time, be required to restart a phase, perform extra community service hours, etc. While the beauty of the program is a dismissal of the charges, the requirements are very intensive, time consuming, and overbearing in a lot of instances. It is suggested that you speak with your own private attorney prior to making the decision to enter into this program. A copy of the Drug Court contracts along with supporting documents are included here for your review.