Maryland Drug/DUI Court Offers Alternatives for Repeat Offenders

Repeat DUI offenders have a bad reputation. Many automatically assume that they are irresponsible people and they deserve the serious punishments that come with a repeat DUI. What most people tend to forget is that these repeat offenders may be suffering from addiction. Addiction is an illness and can consume individuals to the point where they have no concept of what is right or wrong. The Howard County court system is hoping to give these individuals an alternative to the current state their lives are in.

The Drug and DUI Court in Maryland offers participants an alternative sentence to the sentence they would otherwise receive as a repeat offender. Participants are addicts who have not been convicted of a violent crime. Although the program offers people a chance to turn their lives around, participants must be willing to make the commitment.

Just last month, the program graduated its seventh sober class. Rebekah Davidson is one of those graduates, and the program has changed her life. Before receiving her “second chance,” Davidson was consumed by her addiction. She had two children to take care of, but all she could think about was her next high. Her addiction started with prescription pain medication and eventually worked up to crack cocaine.

It was a vicious cycle for Davidson until she ended up in court. Instead of being sentenced to jail, a judge told Davidson that she could avoid jail time if she participated in a special program. Her decision wasn’t hard to make. Although Davidson thought the program was an easy out, she soon found out that she was mistaken.

The county’s drug court balances discipline with accountability. Davidson was required to actively participate and commit to the following:

  • Meet with a case manager and treatment counselor every week
  • Attend group sobriety meetings three to seven times a week
  • Submit a urine test up to three times a week
  • Inform a judge of her progress every two weeks

If Davidson ever failed to fulfill any of the requirements or if she relapsed, she could have faced jail time. After 16 months of sobriety now, Davidson certainly understands the rewards from the program and believes she is a new person.

Although Davidson faced some criminal charges, her story is an amazing reminder that people can change.

Source “Drug and DUI Court give addicts second chance,” Kellie Woodhouse, 8 Dec. 2010

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