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Dane County offers alcohol treatment to repeat DUI offenders

Wisconsin residents who are convicted of drunk driving can face substantial time in custody as well as significant fines, depending on the facts of their case and their prior record. But Dane County is rolling out a new program that may be an option for some of those who are found guilty of DUI.

The program focuses on treating the alcohol addiction that is the root cause of many repeat drunk driving offenses. As such, the program is an option only for those persons whose blood alcohol content registered at least a 0.20 and who have at least two prior DUI convictions. At present, there are 50 people in the pilot program that could be expanded to the entire state if it is successful.

Participants in the program are offered a bargain of sorts. In exchange for an initially shorter time in custody, they must agree to an individually tailored treatment plan and restrictive monitoring of their blood alcohol content. Breathalyzers are installed not only on their cars, but on their home phones. Regular alcohol testing is performed. If any of these tests comes back positive, that could be grounds for a probation violation.

Violating the terms of probation can cause a judge to sentence a person to serve additional time in custody. In addition, a person can be kicked out of the treatment program. The length of probation for this program is two years.

Treatment is important for those who may need it. But it is also important for people to understand the consequences that can come from a criminal conviction. People should be advised of the meaning of all the terms of probation and the pitfalls that await if any of them are not followed.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "So far, so good for DUI court," Aug. 28, 2012

• Confronting a DUI charge can seem like a daunting task. If you would like to learn more about it, you can visit our Wisconsin drunk driving defense page.

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