Saturday, February 19, 2011

Holland DWI court now nationwide model | WOOD TV8

Holland DWI court now nationwide model | WOOD TV8 Program began in 2004 Updated: Monday, 14 Feb 2011, 6:35 PM EST Published : Monday, 14 Feb 2011, 4:37 PM EST By Steve Kelso HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - When Holland's DWI Court began in 2004, it was met with skepticism, Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Franz said his office wasn't quite sure how it would work. Now, this court in the 58th District has been chosen to serve as a training ground for other DWI courts around the country. The idea behind DWI court is to curb repeat offenses since jail was not serving as a deterrent. The court treats repeat offenders through programs that attack the underlying addiction and coordinates law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and treatment providers. Michigan now has over 40 such courts and is seen as a leader nationwide. "It means that Michigan is trying to make a difference in these people lives," said David Wallace, the director of the National Center for DWI Courts . "Trying to make the community safer so that we can drive on the roads without having to worry about getting killed by a drunk driver and recognizing that jail alone does not change an alcoholics behavior." DWI courts seem to be working. A two-year study by the Michigan Supreme Court found DWI court defendants were: •three times less likely to be arrested committing any crime •19 times less likely to be arrested for drunk driving. And the National Center for DWI Courts claims the system saves taxpayers money by reducing accidents, court costs and jail sentences. Franz, the Ottawa County prosecutor, is now a big supporter of DWI courts. "If someone were to relapse while they were in the program or to fail one of the requirements, you do not toss them out, you work with them, you sanction them and you keep them in the program," he told 24 Hour News 8. "As a prosecutor, you like things to be black and white. If you fail, you go back to jail. And that isn't the way this works." The 58th District's DWI court is one of only four academy sites in the country that will serve as a training and education location for hundreds of other courts nationwide. Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!

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