Program Type: DWI/Drug Court
Program Location: Idaho
Lead Agency: Nez Perce County District Court
Partners: Idaho Supreme Court, Lewiston City Prosecutor, Nez Perce County Prosecutor, Public Defender, Nez Perce County Court Services, Lewiston, Police Department
The Issue: Treatment
Program Target Population: High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) offenders (.20% BAC and above)
Repeat Offenders

Program Description:

The Nez Perce County DUI Court program began in 2007 and follows the Ten Guiding Principles for DUI courts adopted by the National Center for DWI Courts. The goals of the program include:

  • Increase public safety and reduce recidivism
  • Engage offenders in a long-term recovery process for making lifelong changes through behavior modification
  • Provide community education and awareness via offender presentations to community organizations and participation in community projects.

The program is for offenders who have two or more DUIs or an offense at a high (.20 % or higher) BAC level. The court places these offenders in treatment services, such as group therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which help to establish a basic foundation for offenders to modify behavior and patterns of thinking.  The program offers monthly family group sessions to provide education, awareness and referrals to services for family members of offenders who also have a problem related to alcohol. Random and observed alcohol and drug testing is required.  An “aftercare” component was also developed by an alumnus of the program for graduates to stay connected to each other and encourage sobriety.

DUI offenders must participate for a minimum of sixteen months and can graduate after being sober for a minimum of one year. Treatment is typically completed in 40 weeks. For graduation, participants must submit a written proposal for a community project. An “aftercare” component was developed by an alumnus of the program for graduates to stay connected to each other and encourage sobriety.

Program Effectiveness:

Participant group size at any given time is only fifteen offenders.  This enables the judge to develop a strong relationship with each participant and spend quality time during status hearings.

The program has seen positive results and a 12.5% lower rate of recidivism.

Program Cost Effectiveness:

The DUI Court program reduces the number of DUI offenders who are incarcerated, lowering the overall cost to the state prison system. The average cost per day in the Nez Perce County jail is $65.  Misdemeanor offenders are sentenced to at least ten days for each convicted DUI charge and felony DUI offenders could spend at least six months in a state prison.

This program also reduces or eliminates the social and monetary costs of injuries and fatalities caused by drunk drivers.

Sources of Funding:

  • Participant fees cover drug testing
  • State funding covers treatment costs
  • Occasional community donations
  • Second District Bar Association annual donation

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Ensuring continued sobriety after graduation from the program
  • Procuring funding
  • Collecting data for research and statistical analysis
  • Encouraging commitment from the program participants in the early phases of their participation
  • Obtaining family participation and support at court hearings


For more information on this program, please contact:
Lisa Martin