(October 12, 2023) – The Council of Accountability Court Judges (CACJ) has selected Cherokee County’s DUI Court to serve as a “Model Court” for 2024-2026. The announcement was made at the CACJ Annual Conference in Athens last month.
The Georgia Model Court Project, implemented by the CACJ, recognizes court programs in the state that have been in operation for several years and have exceeded the state standards and national best practices. Being a model court entails serving as a resource to other accountability courts in need of including information sharing and site visits.
“We are honored to be selected as a Model DUI Court in Georgia,” said Chief State Court Judge Alan Jordan. “This is a reflection of all of the hard work our DUI Court team has done over the years. We are lucky in Cherokee County to have such great people working in the program. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
The DUI Court has proven to be an effective program in combatting repeated drunk driving and recidivism rates. As of January 2023, DUI Court participants statewide have a 6.9 percent three-year felony re-arrest rate. Cherokee County DUI graduates have a less than 5 percent DUI recidivism rate.
The DUI Court began in Cherokee County in 2005. It is a rigorous program for repeat DUI offenders and offers them a chance at rehabilitation in lieu of jail time. The mission of the DUI Court is to protect the public safety and reduce criminal recidivism rate of repeat DUI offenders through an integrated approach that involves court supervision, substance abuse treatment services, and personal accountability, resulting in positive and long-lasting life changes.
Participation in the DUI Court must be assigned through a judge’s sentencing following a repeat infraction. DUI Court is a minimum 14-month program that requires regular check-ins with a judge, intensive treatment, counseling, drug testing, and supervision to hold offenders accountable for their rehabilitation. Accountability Courts, including DUI Courts, help lower recidivism and help people return to productive lives, supporting their families and paying taxes. According to CACJ, each accountability court graduate produces $25,921 in economic benefits to Georgia.
Since its inception, 776 participants have graduated from Cherokee County’s DUI Court program. The DUI Court currently is serving the most participants of the 21 DUI Courts in the state.