SOBER courts help drunk drivers find their way - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

SOBER courts help drunk drivers find their way

Posted: Updated:

The holiday season means more giving, more get-togethers, and more people getting behind the wheel drunk.

There are several reasons you should think twice before drinking and driving.  Thousands of people are killed and thousands of lives are ruined every year by drunk drivers.

"Those signs on the side of the road that say 'DWI you can't afford it'.  They are not kidding," Harris County Criminal Court Judge Robin Brown said.

Brown estimates a DWI arrest will cost you about $10,000 and possibly a lot more.
She runs one of the counties' "Saving Ourselves by Education and Recover" or SOBER courts.

"We seek to serve high risk DWI offenders.  Typically, it will be a second DWI allegation.  We're looking for persons that are actually addicted to alcohol," she said.
She said a repeat DWI offender is more likely to kill another person.  SOBER courts were created to cure these offenders of their alcoholism.

"When they work a sobriety program like this, they're completely different people at the end of it," she said.
SOBER court is different from regular criminal court because someone is constantly watching.

"We do a lot of alcohol surveillance, a lot of urinalysis," Brown said.

It is a two-year program and the person arrested for DWI is also on probation during that time and must go before the judge twice a month.

"The supervision is very, very strict.  The surveillance is very, very strict but most of the offenders end up loving the process because it can be life changing," Brown said.
An entire team works to hold the DWI offender accountable.

"Prosecution, defense lawyers, treatment providers, probation departments and judges," Brown said.

December is "National Impaired Driving Month".  More officers will be on the road, ready to take drunk drivers to jail.  

"Because the incidents of intoxicated driving certainly increase during the holiday periods," Brown said.

What happens if offenders do not successfully complete the SOBER program?

"Well, we do have people that are revoked for non-compliance and they'll end up with a jail sentence," Brown said.

A Sam Houston University study says 15 percent of DWI offenders in Harris County are repeat offenders.  That number drops to six percent for people who have gone through SOBER court.

Typically, judges and attorneys identify candidates for SOBER court but if you know someone who could benefit, simply tell their attorney to help them get into the program.

About 100 people are in the SOBER court program at any given time.  Some people are turned away because of limited resources.

Powered by WorldNow

4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices