GUIDING PRINCIPLE #1: Determine the Population
Targeting is the process of identifying a subset of the DWI offender
population for inclusion in the DWI Court program. This is a complex
task given that DWI Courts, in comparison to traditional Drug Court
programs, accept only one type of offender: the hardcore impaired
driver. The DWI court target population, therefore, must be clearly
defined, with eligibility criteria clearly documented.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #2: Perform a Clinical Assessment
A clinically competent and objective assessment of the impaired-driving offender must address a number of bio-psychosocial
domains including alcohol use severity and drug involvement, the level of needed care, medical and mental health status, extent of
social support systems, and individual motivation to change. Without clearly identifying a client's needs, strengths, and resources along
each of these important bio-psychosocial domains, the clinician will have considerable difficulty in developing a clinically sound treatment plan.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #3: Develop the Treatment Plan
Substance dependence is a chronic, relapsing condition that can be effectively treated with the right type and length of treatment
regimen. In addition to having a substance abuse problem, a significant proportion of the DWI population also suffers from a
variety of co-occurring mental health disorders. Therefore, DWI Courts must carefully select and implement treatment strategies
demonstrated through research to be effective with the hardcore impaired driver to ensure long-term success.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #4: Supervise the Offender
Driving while impaired presents a significant danger to the public. Increased supervision and monitoring by the court, probation
department, and treatment provider must occur as part of a coordinated strategy to intervene with hardcore DWI offenders and to
protect against future impaired driving.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #5: Forge Agency, Organization, and Community
Partnerships are an essential component of the DWI Court model as they enhance credibility, bolster support, and broaden available
resources. Because the DWI Court model is built on and dependent upon a strong team approach, both within the court and beyond, the
court should solicit the cooperation of other agencies, as well as community organizations to form a partnership in support of the goals of the DWI Court program.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #6: Take a Judicial Leadership Role
Judges are a vital part of the DWI Court team. As leader of this team, the judge's role is paramount to the success of the DWI Court
program. The judge must be committed to the sobriety of program participants, possess exceptional knowledge and skill in behavioral
science, own recognizable leadership skills, as well as the capability to motivate team members and elicit buy-in from various
stakeholders. The selection of the judge to lead the DWI Court team, therefore, is of utmost importance.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #7: Develop Case Management Strategies
Case management, the series of inter-related functions that provides for a coordinated team strategy and seamless collaboration across
the treatment and justice systems, is essential for an integrated and effective DWI Court program.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #8: Address Transportation Issues
Though nearly every state revokes or suspends a person's driving license upon conviction for an impaired driving offense, the loss of
driving privileges poses a significant issue for those individuals involved in a DWI Court program. In many cases, the participant and
court team can solve the transportation problem created by the loss of their driver's license through a number of strategies. The court
must hold participants accountable and detect those who attempt to drive without a license and/or insurance.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #9: Evaluate the Program
To convince stakeholders about the power and efficacy of DWI Court, program planners must design a DWI Court evaluation model capable of
documenting behavioral change and linking that change to the program's existence. A credible evaluation is the only mechanism for
mapping the road to program success or failure. To prove whether a program is efficient and effective requires the assistance of a
competent evaluator, an understanding of and control over all relevant variables that can systematically contribute to behavioral
change, and a commitment from the DWI Court team to rigorously abide by the rules of the evaluation design.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #10: Ensure a Sustainable Program
The foundation for sustainability is laid, to a considerable degree, by careful and strategic planning. Such planning includes
considerations of structure and scale, organization and participation and, of course, funding. Becoming an integral and
proven approach to the DWI problem in the community, however is the ultimate key to sustainability.
Click Here for an in depth discussion of the Guiding Principles.