Sobriety Court Offers DUI Offenders A Second Chance

By Victoria Kim 10/17/18

Since it was established in 2011, 438 people have completed the Denver County Sobriety Court program.

woman in court

In Denver County, Colorado, DUI offenders have a second option other than jail.

Participants in Denver County Sobriety Court, like Lei-Linne Radlein, recognize that they have a problem and want to get help. The mom-of-three had two DUIs in less than 30 days. Radlein spent three months in jail, and agreed to participate in the local Sobriety Court.

Her program involved random alcohol testing, therapy (“trying to identify the root cause of the problem”), classes and community service. She graduated in 18 months. (The program generally runs from 14-24 months.)

Radlein was one of 15 participants who graduated from the Sobriety Court program on Monday (Oct. 15). “I now have hope,” she told CBS Denver.

Since it was established in 2011, the Denver County Sobriety Court has seen 438 people complete the program. Graduates are said to be 19 times less likely to reoffend than nonparticipants, according to CBS Denver.

The program was designed to reduce repeat DUI offenses in Denver County. It is a voluntary program for misdemeanor offenders who agree to follow the program of treatment, supervision and staying sober.

“The program allows participants the opportunity to learn about addiction, themselves, and how to live a sober life. This results in better, more productive lives for the participant and those around them,” the program’s description reads.

Rules of the program are as follows:

- Be honest with yourself and the Sobriety Court team

- Complete all phases of the Sobriety Court program

- Remain alcohol and substance free throughout the program

- Submit to random alcohol and/or drug screening

- Participate in treatment as determined by treatment assessment

- Report for all scheduled court reviews

- Meet with probation officer as scheduled.

To graduate, participants must have 90 days of sobriety. Other requirements include having an aftercare plan, applying for jobs or schools and completing community service.

Judge Brian T. Campbell, who in 2011 was tasked with implementing the new Sobriety Court, said he was “suspicious” of the program at first.

But his opinion changed as he witnessed graduates come and go.

“Now, four years later, I am a disciple. With the exception of the first four years of my judicial career, I have learned more in the last four years, changed more, grown more and become a better judge than at any other time in my 35-year career,” Campbell wrote in a 2015 op-ed in the Denver Post.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr