First-time Hennepin County DWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .19 or less have an alternative sanction called the “One-Day DWI program. This is a program that provides a prompt and consistent response to keep these individuals from becoming repeat offenders.
The program combines a victim impact panel, alcohol education, self-assessment, and cognitive therapy to get results. Some clients may be ordered to serve community service on what is called the Sentencing to Service program. This program is completed in addition to the One-Day DWI program.
The One-Day DWI program is held in various places around the area and those who must attend can go to any of those locations. Individuals can register online or over the telephone. There is a fee associated with the program and it is the offender’s responsibility to pay that fee. Payment must be made at least two weeks before the day of the program and can be paid either in-person or through the mail.
If using the online registration system, a confirmation email will be sent after successful online registration. Five days before the session, a reminder email will be sent.
If an individual fails to complete the One-Day DWI program or the Sentencing to Service program, arrest warrants are issued and/or they will be ordered to complete Sentencing to Service.
The program must be completed within 90 days of sentencing.
Those offenders who were involved in an accident may also be ordered to pay restitution to their victims, but this is determined on a case-by-case basis.
This program has been found to be highly effective in Hennepin County first-time DWI offenses. This is because it takes a treatment-based approach versus punishment. It has been found that DWI courts are the most effective method in ensuring chronic offenders do not drink and drive again. When a treatment-based approach is made, those odds are increasing. Individuals are able to address the underlying problem, which is typically alcoholism. During all of the approaches to treatment made within Minnesota courts, the issue of alcoholism is addressed non-stop.
If an individual offends after the One-Day DWI program, then they may have to spend time in jail after a second arrest and conviction. However, rehabilitation is a stance that is taken to try and keep that individual from offending again when they are released. Even in cases of license suspension, cancellation, or revocation, even that doesn’t always keep a person off of the road. Even the Ignition Interlock Device doesn’t always keep individuals from driving another vehicle while intoxicated. If caught, then the consequences are even more severe, resulting in years in prison, high fines, and restitution if the action caused an accident that injured someone.
Even the way DWI probation is supervised has changed as a result of the One-Day DWI program. These individuals are not subject to the traditional probation supervision. Instead, they attend the program and receive a certificate that says they attended it. After the program, they are on administrative probation. Those individuals with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more or any repeat offender will have more intensive supervision while on probation.