What is DUI Court in Orange County?
The Orange County DUI Court Program is a court supervised treatment program for second and third offenders and is operated in cooperation with the Orange County Probation Department and the Health Care Agency. It is for multiple DUI offenders who reside in Orange County, are at least 18 years of age and have no history of violence, sexual crimes or drug trafficking. The defendant must be ready to admit to having a history of drug or alcohol abuse and commit to an intensive program of treatment.
In order to be admitted to DUI Court, a defendant must be interviewed by a Probation Officer and a Health Care Officer. If the defendant is found to be suitable, the Court will take a guilty plea and the defendant will be accepted into the DUI Court Program.
There are various phases of treatment. In the "Window Phase" (minimum of 14 days), the defendant begins group counseling, an eight week educational group, individual counseling, AA meetings and weekly reporting to a Probation Officer. There will also be weekly court appearances and alcohol or drug testing three times per week.
In the "Orientation Phase" (minimum of 14 days), the defendant accepts the terms of DUI Court and begins one group counseling session per week, one individual counseling session per week, 5-7 AA meetings per week and reporting to a Probation Officer once per week. There is also a 10:00pm curfew, alcohol or drug testing three times per week and weekly or bi-weekly court appearances.
Phase One is for a minimum of 90 days and involves one group and individual counseling session per week, 5-7 AA meetings per week, and weekly meetings with a Probation Officer. There is a continued 10:00pm curfew, alcohol or drug testing two times per week and bi-weekly court appearances.
In Phase Two, which lasts for a minimum of 120 days, the defendant is required to continue attending individual and group counseling, three AA meetings per week, a MADD panel meeting and weekly reporting to Probation. The curfew is extended to midnight. There continues to be alcohol or drug testing twice per week and bi-weekly court appearances.
In Phase Three, which is for a minimum period of 120 days, the defendant must continue to attend one group and one individual counseling session per week, two AA meetings per week and weekly reporting to Probation. The defendant must also complete eight hours of community service and serve the mandatory minimum jail time for the offense (96 hours on a second DUI and 120 days for a third DUI), normally by way of electronic home confinement. The defendant is expected to mentor new DUI Court participants, abide by a midnight curfew, submit to weekly alcohol/drug testing and monthly DUI court appearances.
There is a monthly fee for the program, based on ability to pay. The defendant must also comply with any other mandated minimum penalties including the minimum fines and fees and completion of an SB38 18 month alcohol education class.
This program is a very demanding alternative to a lengthy jail sentence and requires a lot in terms of time and effort. It is intended to be a positive life changing experience for people who have addiction issues. The program is not flexible and sanctions are imposed for violations of the rules.
If you want further information concerning this program, please contact Orange County DUI Lawyers Gold and Witham for a FREE case evaluation.