Saving lives and giving back
The Sarasota County DUI Court is a specialized court that is unique, there being only four other DUI Courts in the state of Florida. DUI Court’s mission is to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders by providing alternative community based treatment, thereby increasing both offender productivity and public safety. It has been in existence since 2008, overseen by Sarasota County Judge David L. Denkin. The members of the DUI Court team include Director Nicole Durston; Assistant Director Mollie Cool; and Counselors Robyn LaPorta and Zjohnae Milton.
The Sarasota DUI Court is dedicated to changing behavior, targeting offenders who are alcohol dependent currently charged with driving under the influence having one or more prior drug and/or alcohol related arrest(s). The program has provided therapeutic interventions, random drug testing, individual and group counseling, and court supervision to more than 500 clients. The goal of the program is to change the behavior of our clients’ alcohol/drug dependence by addressing the root cause of their alcohol and/or other substance abuse issues.
Giving back to Sarasota County is important to DUI Court. Over the last 11 years, DUI Court participants have contributed almost 13,000 hours of community service. Through the Keep Sarasota Beautiful Program, DUI Court has adopted two local roads, North Lockwood Ridge Road and Beneva Road between 17th Street and Fruitville Road. Throughout the year, volunteers clear the roads of trash and debris. DUI Court also provides volunteer hours to Habitat for Humanity, giving clients another opportunity to give back to the community and express gratitude by participating in build days.
To date, we have screened a total of 1,285 clients – 589 clients have entered the program and 450 have successfully graduated. The graduation rate is 76%.
- Recidivism for new DUI after graduating DUI Court is 4%
- Recidivism for DWLS after graduating DUI Court is 3.6%
- Recidivism for total re-arrests after graduating DUI Court is 15%
The nationwide recidivism rate for DUI’s is 25% and in Florida it is 26%.