As a Gresham and Portland DUII lawyer, I actively seek sentencing solutions for my DUII clients which allow them to maintain family, employment, financial and treatment stability while serving alternative “jail” sentences in DUII cases. I negotiate and argue for the best options for my clients.
Treatment courts can be a good option for the resolution of a Felony DUII case or a case where the client is exposed to a lengthy jail sentence.
Eighteen years ago, Multnomah County began an experiment with the use of treatment court for DUII offenders. The DUII Intensive Supervision Program (DISP) directed offenders into a highly structured probation with regular appearances in court to monitor progress and compliance. The touchstones of this program are accountability and honesty. Participants are encouraged to disclose relapses and are given a range of sanctions, which are more severe for those who are not honest about their alcohol or drug use. Program participants remain under supervision from two to five years.
The DISP Program has been highly successful. In the last 17 years almost eighty three percent of the graduates have avoided new DUII convictions and almost eighty nine percent of graduates do not reoffend in the five years after graduation. The goal of the DISP program is to offer meaningful treatment to DUII offenders and to help them develop a stability in all aspects of their lives.
Ballot Measure 73 was enacted in 2010. It required judges to sentence people convicted of Felony DUII to a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail without any reduction in the sentence. DUII treatment courts judges tried suspending or commuting all or part of the mandatory 90 day jail sentence for treatment court participants. The Multnomah County District Attorney appealed these actions and the Court of Appeals agreed that the 90 day sentence must be imposed.
The DISP Court judges have presented Senate Bills 356 and 357to the 2015 legislature, which would allow treatment courts to substitute transdermal alcohol detection monitoring for the jail sentence called for under Measure 73. These “SCRAM” bracelets can detect alcohol use by monitoring a person’s skin for signs of alcohol use. These devices provide immediate notice to probation supervisors if a person uses alcohol. The Measure is opposed by the sponsor of Ballot Measure 73 and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
In this case, there is a difference between being tough in sentencing DUII offenders and being smart in sentencing DUII offenders. The solution for serial drunk drivers is to stop drinking. The foundations for long term sobriety are financial, family stability and treatment. Treatment court programs recognize this and want to provide offenders with the tools to stop drinking and stay sober uninterrupted by jail.
As a 36 year Gresham and Portland DUII lawyer I support the mission of treatment courts in promoting public safety by helping people achieve long term sobriety. I support Senate Bills 356 and 357.
Source: JFO Rourke Blog