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Salt Lake Testing DUI Court

Salt Lake Testing DUI Court



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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingYou've probably heard of Drug Court, now Salt Lake City is testing out a new DUI Court. There are a handful of similar courts around the nation, but Salt Lake's will employ a more intense probation for offenders.

Prosecutors are just beginning to select offenders for the program. They say they'll choose both first time and multiple DUI offenders, and those who had lower and higher blood alcohol contents when they were arrested. This way they'll have a large variety of people in the program to see how it works.

The goal is to cut down on re-offenders and help keep the community safer. It hits close to home for families of victims.

Art Brown, Lost Grandson in Drunk Driving Accident: "You're going along thinking everything is okay until you get a phone call. And it changes your life."

Five years ago Art Brown's daughter and her family were in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver going more than 70 miles an hour. Art says it's a day he'll never forget because his four-month-old grandson Matthew died that day.

Art Brown: "Twenty-four hours later, you have to pull that child off life support, watch that body turn color and life just recede away. For me to watch that was the most terrible night of my life."

So Art is taking action. In the coming months he'll spend time talking with DUI offenders as part of Salt Lake's new DUI court.

Sim Gill, Salt Lake City Prosecutor: "It's to hold offenders accountable for their conduct, to provide them with the tools for treatment, but then also to finish that phase to transition them back into the community."

Prosecutor Sim Gill says under this pilot court program offenders will have a 12-month period of supervision after they're prosecuted. The first few months, drunk drivers will undergo treatment and education with videos and classes. Then they'll talk with DUI victims and community members so they can learn how their actions impact those around them.

Sim Gill: "You can educate a person and give them treatment, but they all ultimately end up in our community, and you have to get them to internalize this entire process."

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