The number of D.U.I.s has steadily increased during the past few decades. Changes to the “D.U.I./Driving After Imbibing Statute” in 2004 have increased penalties on a graduated scale for D.U.I. offenses. The Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas has instituted a D.U.I. Treatment Court in an effort to address the cycle of alcoholism and addiction, to protect the public, and to provide more structured implementation of treatment required by the new law.
Administered by the Lebanon County District Attorney's Office, the D.U.I. Treatment Court presents a heightened level of judicial involvement and intensive probation supervision coupled with rigorous treatment to address addiction. A participant in this program will have direct and frequent contact with the D.U.I. Court Treatment Team Members. This team will consist – at a minimum – of a Treatment Court Judge, D.A. D.U.I. Coordinator/Representative, Probation Officer, Public Defender, and a Lebanon County Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse representative. Frequent contact with members of this team will help to motivate the participant by providing immediate reactions to successes and failures in the process of rehabilitation. There will be judicial interaction and intervention at the beginning and end of the D.U.I. Court process. The D.U.I. Treatment Court will employ an aggressive approach designed to assist the participant in his/her rehabilitation through a supervised program focusing on treatment and accountability.
Traditionally, D.U.I. Courts – locally and nationwide – have contributed to encouraging recovery while reducing recidivism rate, the number of criminal court dockets, and prison population. It is the goal of the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas to apply established yet innovative approaches to offenders within Lebanon County. This will maximize the chances that addicted habitual offenders will maintain alcohol and/or drug and crime-free lifestyles while offering intensive rehabilitation to the offender. At present, the program is funded by local dollars and does not receive any assistance from federal or state grants.
On October 15, 2019, the Lebanon County Criminal Justice Advisory Board adopted the following resolution: "The CJAB supports the imposition of an appropriate deadline for individuals to accept placement into the DUI Court Program, as early acceptance and placement are in line with better and more positive outcomes." Adoption of this resolution was the result of a discussion among CJAB members about whether DUI offenders should have a limited amount of time to decide whether to participate in the program. Establishing a time limit is based on the idea that getting offenders into treatment as soon as possible is the preferred approach.