STOCKTON – San Joaquin County Superior Court’s multi-track DUI Court Program has been chosen as a model court to be included in the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), and has been awarded a $750,000 continuation grant from the Office of Traffic Safety to help establish other such programs across the state.
Funding is provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and will be used to support program operations and services between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017.
“We are thankful to our partners OTS and NHTSA for their continued support,” said Judge Richard Vlavianos, who started the program in 2008. “Our goal is to reduce the number of alcohol-related collisions and deaths in San Joaquin County and help individuals gain control of their lives and overcome substance abuse issues.”
NPC Research, in a 2012 study of San Joaquin County’s DUI Court, documented a one-third decrease in recidivism and a 50% reduction in alcohol related collisions among participants of the DUI Court. During the same time frame, San Joaquin County reduced the number of fatalities and injuries in alcohol involved collisions
Traditional DUI courts focus on providing substance abuse treatment to individuals who demonstrate a high risk to reoffend and a high need for treatment. However, the majority of DUI offenders do not fall under the category of having a substance abuse disorder that necessitates treatment. San Joaquin’s DUI Court operates a two-track model that, in addition to a substance abuse treatment component, includes a separate track designed for individuals with low-needs who simply require close alcohol monitoring and regular court interaction. Through this two-track model, the DUI Court expanded its impact on public safety, monitoring more than 500 offenders in the county at any given time.
The project entails communicating the benefits of the DUI Court model established in San Joaquin County to courts throughout the state and encouraging those jurisdictions to launch their own court programs to monitor offenders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is interested in tracking the effects of such programs.