A group of Missoulians from the legal, law enforcement and mental health communities met with Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway to discuss the creation of a DUI Treatment Court for Missoula County.

Why is a specialized DUI Court necessary? A few statistics might help answer that question.

61 percent of Montana’s highway fatalities in 2017 were driving impaired. Statewide, there were 7,324 DUI citations in 2011 and 7,635 in 2017.

Judge Holloway explained the purpose of the specialized DUI Court.

“We’ve received a grant and we’re going to implement a DUI treatment court here in Missoula through Justice Court,” said Judge Holloway. “We really want to target and address the high BAC (blood alcohol content) and the repeat DUI offenders. There are a lot of DUI fatalities on the roads from impaired drivers, and that’s what we’re trying to do, is save lives and make our roads safer.”

Holloway explained the steps that a participant in the DUI court must take to be successful.

“The participant must go through a screening assessment,” she said. “Then, once accepted by the treatment court team, then actually start showing up for court, and it will be twice a month, and each participant will also be working on a case management plan and looking at a holistic approach for that individual.”

Holloway talked about accountability by the participants in the DUI court.

“One of the components of having an evidence based program is to make sure there’s a program evaluator associated with them,” she said. “We’ll be able to pull up data up till the end of the year and we’ll continue to do that over future years, so that we know what we’re doing and that we’re doing it right. We’re also going to adhere to the 10 guiding principles nationwide with DUI courts.”

Holloway said each participant in the DUI court will have a minimum of 12 months, and preferably 18 months under the court’s jurisdiction, have a substance abuse diagnosis, and most importantly, a desire to change.