DWI court

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The abbreviation "DWI" stands for driving while intoxicated, closely related to the "DUI" abbreviation, standing for driving under the influence.[1] Driving While Intoxicated court cases are extremely serious violations and are thus handled in a strict manner. A controversy that comes along with trying "DWI" court cases is whether or not the court will rule the incident as a crime of violence. If a court rules the incident as a crime of violence, it then becomes classified as an "aggravated" felony.[2] If an offender has been sentenced with an aggravated felony, they are now subjected to immigration and possible deportation, depending upon their citizenship.[1] It is clear that "DWI" court cases have the extremely important responsibility of classifying whether a case is a "crime of violence", in order to determine the severity of the offenders sentence.

The reason DWI (driving while intoxicated) is handled in the harshest manner possible is because driving is one's own responsibility. As noted by Gary Schuman in Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, "Drunk driving inherently involves substantial risk of harm and death is a readily foreseeable consequence of such conduct".[3] One who gets behind the wheel has already gone through the required processes in order to receive a valid drivers license, and therefore is held responsible for all of their actions on the road. Alcohol-impaired driving facilities, such as National Highway Traffic Administration have stated that DWI court cases (driving while intoxicated cases) have "accounted for 32 percent of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States during 2006". [4]

When seeking a deeper understanding of DWI courts, one must also be educated on the subject of DWI checkpoints. It is important to understand the politics behind DWI courts and how the number of DWI arrests impact DWI checkpoints. As told by Robert C. Davis in the Center on Quality Policing Journal, "the output DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrests as a performance measure is likely to increase the number of DWI checkpoints".[5] Therefore, it is evident that there is a positive correlation between the amount of DWI arrests and the amount of DWI checkpoints required.

DWI courts (sometimes called DUI courts) use substance-abuse interventions and treatment with defendants who plead guilty of driving while intoxicated or impaired. There were about 90 DWI courts, and 86 drug courts that also took DWI offenders, in the United States in 2004.[6]

Most repeat offenders of DWI are alcoholic and are involved in the majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, although this is usually deemed as a false statement of fact.[citation needed] The emphasis of DWI courts is on reducing drunk-driving by treating alcoholism, and for offenders to take responsibility for their actions.[7] Those who want DWI court treatment are required to abstain from drinking alcohol. Participants may also be subject to various requirements such as:

  • Random visits from law enforcement officers
  • Attending treatment and/or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • Community service
  • Frequent urine analysis or blood alcohol tests[8]
  • Transdermal alcohol detection devices such as SCRAM bracelets[9]

DWI courts may be effective. In one of the first started in 1997, the recidivism rate fell from about 45% to 13.5%. A court in Los Angeles resulted in lower costs through lower incarceration and fewer repeat offences.[6] The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Jeffrey Runge, has promoted DWI courts to reduce impaired and drunk driving.


  1. ^ a b Davenport, Maria-Teresa (Spring 2006). "Deportation and Driving: Felony Dui and Reckless Driving as Crimes of Violence Following Leocal v. Ashcroft". The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 96: 849–875. JSTOR 40042799. 
  2. ^ Hicks, Eric (April 2011). "Comments on Sentencing Procedures". Federal Sentencing Reporter. 23. JSTOR 10.1525/fsr.2011.23.4.265. 
  3. ^ Schuman, Gary (2008). "Dying Under The Influence". Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. 43: 1–62. 
  4. ^ "National Drunk Driving Crackdown". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 57 (31): 854. August 8, 2008. JSTOR 23318693. 
  5. ^ Davis, Robert (May 2012). "Selected International Best Practices in Police Performance Measurement". Center on Quality Policing: 37–39. JSTOR 10.7249/j.ctt1q60z7. 
  6. ^ a b Ritvo, Jonathan I.; Harvey L. Causey III (2008). "Community-Based Treatment". In Marc Galanter, Herbert D. Kleber. The American Psychiatric Publishing textbook of substance abuse treatment (4th ed.). American Psychiatric Pub. p. 752. ISBN 1-58562-276-1. 
  7. ^ Hess, Kären M.; Christine Hess Orthmann (2008). "Courts". Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (9 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 582. ISBN 0-495-39090-9. 
  8. ^ Olson, Rochelle (30 December 2007). "DWI court succeeds by keeping keen eye on offenders". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  9. ^ "Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring Case Studies". National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. August 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 

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