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Weber County gives new DUI program a test drive

Just being arrested for driving under the influence could cost some people their driver's licenses. This jeopardizes their ability to work and take care of their families. Perhaps a new DUI program that Weber County is taking for a test drive will help rectify this problem.

Put simply, the program allows someone convicted of DUI to stay out of jail and keep his or her driver's license. The judge presiding over the case decides whether an individual qualifies. That person is required to take a breath test twice a day, every day (including Saturdays and Sundays), and any positive test result reinstates the original sentence since this option comes with a zero tolerance policy. He or she must remain alcohol free 24-hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the program.

The Weber County Sheriff says the program is modeled after ones currently in use in Montana and South Dakota. In Montana, a 15 percent drop in the number of DUIs was attributed to participation in the program. In addition, that state saw a 70 percent reduction of repeat offenders among participants. The program stresses correcting unwanted behavior (drunk driving) instead of simply punishing it. Montana's results indicate that this approach might just work.

Anyone arrested for DUI here in Weber County might want to discuss the option of participating in this program with his or her criminal defense counsel if a conviction or guilty plea is a significant possibility. Making the most of this type of program might not keep a person's record clean, but it could provide him or her with the opportunity to resume normal life much more quickly and minimize the negative affects. Of course, all options to avoid a conviction should also be explored, but this sentencing option might provide a light at the end the tunnel for those who qualify.

Source: ksl.com, "DUI recovery program would allow offenders to keep driver licenses", Mike Anderson, April 3, 2017

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