Courts & Corrections

Deterring DUI Offenders From Drinking With Daily Breathalyzer Tests

One Montana county has been implementing a pilot program that enforces two breathalyzer tests a day for repeat DUI offenders to keep them sober.
by , | December 9, 2010

Montana had the country's highest alcohol-related fatality rate in 2008 - more than double the national average - according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Currently, repeat DUI offenders are required to abstain from drinking while awaiting their court date, but there is no established way to ensure compliance. In an effort to make sure DUI offenders stay sober, Lewis and Clark County, Mont., launched a 24/7 Sobriety Program that requires offenders to take breathalyzer tests twice a day as a part of their bond agreement. The tests are administered in jails and at a Helena pre-release center, where offenders who fail or skip out on a breathalyzer test would be incarcerated. Funded by $2 fees offenders must pay each time they take a breathalyzer test, the program has seen a 99.9 percent success rate since its launch in May 2010. The (Helena) Independent Record reports that Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock is working on legislation to expand the program to the state level. The pilot was inspired by programs in South Dakota and North Dakota, which are successfully being implemented statewide.

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