GLEN BURNIE, MD (February 21, 2023) – Montgomery County is poised to become the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland to operate a DUI Court following an extensive training for county representatives by the National Center for DWI Courts. DUI Courts are specialized court programs that provide individual treatment, supervision and accountability for repeat offenders of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.
Attendees at the recent training represented a multi-disciplinary effort from Montgomery County, including the judicial system, law enforcement, probation offices, treatment centers and program coordinators.
The DUI Court program follows a well-established drug court model and is grounded in research demonstrating impaired driving can be prevented if underlying causes, such as substance use and mental health disorders, are identified and addressed. The program pairs frequent court appearances and random drug testing with ongoing counseling, treatment and other social services.
“More than 8% of drivers arrested for driving impaired on Maryland roads between 2015 and 2021 were arrested more than once within that same seven-year timeframe,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Wes Moore’s Highway Safety Representative. “As we focus on removing these repeat offenders from our roadways, Maryland supports expanding this court program throughout the state as an effective tool to save lives.”
Montgomery County anticipates the new DUI Court will be operational in August. Anne Arundel, Howard and St. Mary’s counties currently have operational DUI Courts, which are funded by the Office of Problem Solving Courts.
Nationally, a Michigan study found offenders were 19 times less likely to be re-arrested for another impaired-driving offense if they participated in a DUI Court program compared to offenders processed through a traditional court. Of 4,000 treatment courts nationwide, 700 are stand-alone DUI Courts.
“There is no doubt the establishment of a trained DUI Court in Montgomery County will save lives,” said Jim Eberspacher, director of the National Center for DWI Courts. “DUI Courts prove impaired driving can be successfully addressed through a combination of accountability and treatment. This program represents a deep commitment to public safety while ensuring individuals in need of substance use disorder treatment receive the support they need to transform their lives.”
Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office by visiting ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.
About the National Center for DWI Courts
Impaired driving is recognized as one of the biggest threats to public safety in the United States. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) was created in 2007 and is dedicated to reducing impaired-driving recidivism nationwide by addressing the root problem: addiction. NCDC partners with federal agencies and corporate sponsors to provide cutting-edge training and technical assistance to communities to implement, expand, and improve DWI court programs that provide treatment and accountability based on research-driven best practices. NCDC is dedicated to expanding DWI courts to serve everyone in need and to make our communities safer each and every day.