Florida County Plans DUI Court

Polk County, Florida commissioners will vote this week on an issue that would lead to the establishment of the first DUI Court in the state. To begin the special court the commissioners must approve the creation of three new employment positions: a probation officer, counselor and DUI case manager.

The court will focus on motorists charged with repeat DUI arrests. The county has received a grant from the state to fund the DUI Court for three years. Local DUI fines will be increased by $50 to make the DUI Court financially viable in the long term.

Repeat Florida DUI offenders will have the option of voluntarily participating in the DUI Court program. In exchange for the possibility of reduced jail time, participants would enter an intense alcohol rehabilitation program and be subject to strict probation monitoring. Statistics from the fifty existing DUI Courts across the United States show that the programs are effective in reducing alcohol related automobile accidents and related injuries and deaths.

If the Polk County commissioners approve the plan, the DUI Court program would be ‘fast tracked’ and become operational in late November.

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