Hennepin Co. celebrates success of DWI courtby Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesotans for Safe Driving are highlighting the success of Hennepin County's DWI court in rehabilitating people charged with drunken driving.
DWI courts are aimed at changing the behavior of habitual drunken drivers. Participants return to DWI court as often as once a week; they must be in treatment and submit to regular breath and urine tests.
Hennepin County's DWI court is in its fifth year of operation.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving and Minnesota's 4th Judicial District highlighted the court's successes in a gathering in Minneapolis on Friday. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie spoke at the event.
"The courts, the law enforcement, this special court," Ritchie said, "can not only help save lives but can be a place where lives can be rebuilt, for offenders, but also for all those others whose lives are shattered by drinking and driving in our society."
One former offender, Mark Flackney, said he was the third graduate of the court. "This group of people in the DWI court convinced me it would work and gave me the tools to allow me to achieve six years of sobriety," Flackney said, "and I'm very grateful."
A report on the court found that offenders who graduate from the program were charged and convicted at half the rate as other offenders.