In the state of Minnesota, particularly in Hennepin County, the Fourth Judicial District Adult DWI Court exists to reduce the number of DWI-related accidents and fatalities, as well as to increase public safety throughout the state.
More commonly referred to as adult court or DWI court, the Fourth Judicial Adult DWI Court was established in January 2007 as a strictly voluntary court for repeat gross misdemeanor DWI offenders aged 18 and above who are residents of Hennepin County. It expanded in 2011 to take in felony DWI offenders who had stayed prison sentences. Participants of adult court must be diagnosed as chemically dependent after completing a chemical health assessment.
Together, the individuals who make up the adult court strive to live a lifestyle that is sober and free of crime.
Adult court participants are required to make regular appearances before a designated judge in DWI court. They are placed on curfew, are on probation, and are also subject to regular visits at work or at home by law enforcement officials. Participants are required to be tested for drugs and alcohol, to receive treatment, to drive with an interlock device for at least one year upon reinstatement of their license, and to attend Twelve Step support and sponsorship meetings.
The program is made up of four phases. Each of the first three phases are at least three months long, taking a total of roughly 18 months to complete if a participant has no major setbacks. The fourth phase is comprised of two years of administrative probation. With each new phase, a participant appears in court for judicial review less and less.
Upon graduation from the program, participants are awarded a certificate of completion and are released from active probation. Failing to complete the program and its requirements, on the other hand, results in sanctions such as increased drug testing and alcohol monitoring, more intensive probation supervision, more frequent courtroom appearances, and periods of incarceration.
Participants in the DWI Court program are required to pay Correctional Service and participant fees, and additional fees and fines for ignition interlock, alcohol monitoring, and restitution.
Special self-help activities, mentorship, and an alumni group are available to all participants who have successfully completed the DWI Court program.