H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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DUI Court: New Approach to Colorado DUI Sentencing Shows Promise in Larimer County

Ft Collins (Larimer County) to Launch DUi Court

First case is docketed for July 2, 2010
The 8th Judicial District (Larimer and Jackson counties) recently announced the launch of a problem-solving DUI court . This new, specialized court, to ” bring solutions” to the challenges of repeat DUI offenders. The DUI court will hear cases of offenders with a history of repeat DUI related behaviors and offenses.

The court developed its treatment model from the Ten Guiding Principles of DWI Courts, produced by the National Center for DWI Courts, which places an emphasis on rehabilitating offenders through customized treatment programs, intensive supervision and regular, in-person court review hearings.

The court-adopted treatment model monitors participants in a variety of ways for program compliance. Participants must undergo treatment and counseling, submit to random and frequent drug and alcohol testing, and appear frequently before the judge. Sanctions, including jail time, are imposed for noncompliance, while positive incentives, such as public transportation vouchers, are awarded to successful participants as encouragement to continue advancing in the program.

The District Attorney’s Office will screen DUI offenders and make a determination regarding an individual’s eligibility to participate in the DUI court program. If the District Attorney’s Office presents an initial invitation to participate in the program, the DUI Court Team will then further review the candidate’s DUI-related history and, assuming the team believes the offender has the potential to be successful in the program, formally adopt him or her into the treatment model.

The Larimer County DUI court is a collaborative effort among local and state agencies including local substance abuse treatment providers and law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the Alternative Sentencing Department, the Probation Department, the Larimer Center for Mental Health, and the Colorado Judicial Branch.

H. Michael’s Take:

Rather than long term incarceration — the knee jerk “voter’s” and politician’s response to repeat DUI offenders — the 8th Judicial District has taken a well researched and reasoned approach to the problem and should be commended on a creative method to help rehabilitate and reform repeat offenders.

Long term incarcertation has been proven NOT to work — it ignores and rarely addresses the underlying problems of repeat offenders. It cedes the truly tough issues udnerlying DUI’s – such as alcoholism and depression to some antiquated belief that punishment (which ultimately leads to the destruction of families, jobs and relationhsips) will solve all problems.

I support this “team approach” to treating repeat DUi Offenders and will do all that I can to strengthen and help this idea to take hold in our state.