Alternative Court Procedures for DUI Offenders

Report No: 79-R28

Published in 1978

About the report:

The purpose of this report is to evaluate the need for alternative court procedures in Virginia for handling cases involving persons charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), with particular focus on the referral of DUI offenders to the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). In February 1978, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 102, which created a Commission to study all aspects of Virginia's drunk driving laws. This report, designed to aid the Commission in its inquiry, discusses four issues specifically raised by House Joint Resolution No. 102: 1. Whether the law should limit the discretion presently given the trial judge; 2. whether convictions for DUI should be required prior to entry into rehabilitation programs; 3. whether work privileges to operate a motor vehicle should be issued instead of allowing an offender to retain his full driving privilege; and 4. whether second offenders should be given another opportunity to enter a rehabilitation program. In order to evaluate these issues, questionnaires were mailed to all the general district court, circuit court and juvenile court judges, all commonwealth's attorneys and local VASAP directors, and a random sample of state and local police. The questionnaires were designed to discover the present court procedures being used in DUI cases and to elicit the participants' opinions on possible alternatives to the present procedures. Overall, 78% of the questionnaires were answered. The report presents an analysis of the questionnaire results along with a brief review of the literature evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs and hardship licenses as highway safety countermeasures. On the basis of this analysis, the authors recommend several revisions to the existing statutes and practices.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Authors

Other Authors

John J. Abbene, Peter E. Keith

Last updated: January 26, 2024

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