Alternative Sentencing

Judges have the responsibility to effectively sanction an offender for their crimes. These resources provide information on the effectiveness and reduced recidivism rates of jail time as compared to alternative sentencing practices in DWI cases.

Sentencing Options. NHTSA and NCSC,  www.courtsanddwi.org. Sanctions that work best balance consistency in sentencing among offenders with the need to tailor punishment and treatment to individual offenders. The primary goals of sanctions are to punish the guilty and deter or prevent the offender from driving while impaired again (specific deterrence), to deter others from driving while impaired (general deterrence), and to provide restitution to victims. These sanctions are based on the assumption that punishment will be effective if it is certain, swift, and appropriately severe. Many of the sanctions listed below provide variety in the severity of punishment; research suggests that certainty and swiftness of punishment are greater deterrents than severity of punishment.

When Should Judges Use Alcohol Monitoring as a Sentencing Option in DWI Cases? 44 Court Review 3 (2008). American Judges Association.  This article takes an initial step toward evaluating the effectiveness of alcohol monitoring as a sentencing option in DWI cases with the goal of eventually determining which types of offenders, if any, would benefit most from alcohol monitoring.

A Guide to Sentencing DWI Offenders. NHTSA, (2006).  This sentencing guide is designed to assist judges and prosecutors in reducing recidivism among people convicted of driving while impaired (DWI).

Van Duizend, Richard. Arizona DUI Summit: Background Paper on the Effectiveness of Sanctions in DUI
Cases: Executive Summary.
” National Center for State Courts, (2006). This Executive Summary distills a background paper reviewing the effectiveness of sanctions in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases, prepared for the Summit by the National Center for State Courts.

Cheesman, Fred L. “An Examination of Recidivism of Offenders Receiving Services from the Virginia
Alcohol Safety Action Program
,” National Center for State Courts, (2004). This report provides an assessment of the success of 24 Alcohol Safety Action Program District Offices in reducing the incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Guidelines for Sentencing DUI Offenders in the United States. National Association of State Judicial Educators, (2002). The guidelines provided in this paper are designed to help judges and prosecutors best determine the appropriate sanction to impose on a DUI/DWI offender.

Evaluation of A Day Reporting Center for Repeat DWI Offenders, NHTSA, (1999). This report describes and evaluates the effectiveness of a Day Reporting Center (DRC) in reducing the DWI recidivism of repeat DWI offenders. Also examines the effect of the DRC program in reducing the cost of post-conviction sanctioning operations, and in relieving the pressures on jail facilities in carrying out the court-imposed sanctions. Found that the DRC program was no more effective in reducing recidivism than was a comparison standard probation program in use by the study jurisdiction. However, the DRC program was more cost-effective and helped reduce pressure on an already over-taxed county jail system.

Jones, Ralph K. and John H. Lacey. “Final Report: Evaluation of an Individualized Sanctioning Program for DWI Offenders,” NHTSA, (1998).  This report evaluates two different approaches to sentencing DWI offenders in Georgia. One approach (called the “Todd Program” after the judge who developed it) imposed individually-tailored combinations of traditional and alternative sanctions, and the other approach generally imposed only the minimum sanctions required by state law.

Hardenbergh, Don. “DWI/DUI Sentencing Evaluation, Maryland District Court: Final Report.National Center for State Courts, (1990).  The stated purpose of the study as defined by the legislation was to “better inform Maryland judges about sentencing and case disposition practices that may be most effective in protecting the public, reducing death and injury on the highways, and rehabilitating offenders.”

Hardenbergh, Don. “Revised Workplan DWI/DUI Sentencing Evaluation, State of Maryland.” National Center for State Courts, (1988). The NCSC has been requested by the Maryland District Courts and the Administrative Office of the Courts to conduct a study of DWI/DUI sentencing practices among the State’s judges. The study, which was requested by the Maryland General Assembly, is to identify any currently used sentencing practices that are more effective in “protecting the public, reducing death and injury on the highways, and rehabilitation of offenders.”

NCSC Library:

Available from the NCSC Library by contacting library@ncsc.org.

Screening, Assessment and Treatment of DWI Offenders: A Guide for Justice Professionals and Policy 

Makers. Ottawa, Ont.: Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2008. (Available in the NCSC library: HE5620 D7 S27 2008).

Strategies for Addressing the DWI Offender: 10 Promising Sentencing Practices. Washington, D.C.:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2004. (Available in the NCSC library: KF2231 U55 2004).

Wallace, David J. Prior Convictions in Impaired Driving Prosecutions. Alexandria, VA: American
Prosecutors Research Institute, 2004. (Available in the NCSC library: KF8925 T7 W35 2004).

Cavaiola, Alan A. Assessment and Treatment of the DWI Offender. New York: Haworth Press, 2002.
(Available in the NCSC library: HE5620 D7 C375 2002).

Strategies for Success: Combating Juvenile DUI. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1999. (Available in the NCSC library: HE5630 D72 S77 1999).

San Juan County DWI Program: Twenty-Eight Day Incarceration, Treatment, and Aftercare Program for
First Time DWI Offenders. Farmington, NM: 1996. (Available in the NCSC library: KFN3897.8 Z9 S26 1996).

Strategies for Dealing with the Persistent Drinking Driver. Washington, D.C.: National Research Council
Transportation Research Board, Committee on Alcohol, Other Drugs and Transportation, 1995. (Available in the NCSC library: TA1001.5 T68 no. 437 1995).

Hagen, Roger E. Suspension and Revocation Effects on the DUI Offender. Sacramento, CA: Department of Motor Vehicles, 1980. (Available in the NCSC library: KFC477 H3 1987).

Smith, J. Treatment for the Impaired Driver. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1987. (Available in the NCSC library: K4037 S65 1987).

Swenson, Paul R. An Analysis of Drinker Diagnosis, Referral and Rehabilitation Activity: Final Report:
Section Two: Analytic Study VI. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1977. (Available in the NCSC library: KFA2697.8 S8 1977).

A Guide to Sentencing DWI Offenders. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2005. (Available in the NCSC library: KF2231 N38 2005).

Simpson, Herb M. DWI System Improvements for Dealing with Hard Core Drinking Drivers: Enforcement.

Ottawa, Ont.: Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2001. (Available in the NCSC library: HE5620 D7 S57 2001).

Sentencing and Dispositions of Youth DUI and Other Alcohol Offenses: A Guide for Judges and
Prosecutors. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administrator, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1999. (Available in the NCSC library: KF9820 S46 1999).

Ross, H. Laurence. The New Philadelphia Story: The Effects of Severe Penalties for Drunk Driving.
Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1989. (Available in the NCSC library: KF2231 R6 1989).

The Drunk Driver and Jail. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, American Correctional Association, 1987. (Available in the NCSC library: KF2231 D78 1987).

Casale, Anthony C. Jail Crowding Post Workshop: Design of a DUI Intervention Program, Palm Beach
County, Florida. Sacramento, CA: EMT Group, 1987. (Available in the NCSC library: KFF297.8 C37 1987).

Court Referral Program for DWI Offenders. Montgomery, AL: Administrative Office of the Courts, 1979.
(Available in the NCSC library: KFA297.8 Z9 C6 1979).