Alternative To A DWI Sentence Pays Off In Harris County Sober Court

SOBER Court, or Saving Ourselves By Education & Recovery, is a 2 year intensive legal treatment program for people who have multiple DWI convictions. It's designed to rehabilitate high-risk participants , while increasing public safety by providing enforcement, treatment, supervision and support for alcohol abusers charged with drunken driving.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says he's confident the program will make a difference.

"I've committed an incredible amount of resources and personnel to the success of this program, because I believe that this will be a huge huge part of our successful effort to take Harris County out of the number 1 spot in the country, for being the place where you die on the roadways, because of somebody else's inability to stay sober."

The offenders are selected and meet with a DWI judge twice a month as they go through rehabilitation. They must breathe into the alcohol monitoring devices 3-4 times a day, whether at work or at home and before they drive a vehicle.

Crystal Acuff was put on 2 years probation and participated in Sober Court. She says it saved her life.

"I have a problem. I need help. So I'm just truly grateful that the court system is here to be able to have a program like this."

Patrol deputies conduct random, surprise home inspections of selected defendants, but Acuff says it's worth it when you consider the alternative.

"It's either the death penalty like I said earlier. It's six feet under for me, or sobriety. It's a blessing to stay sober, because there's so much out there in life that we pass up every day."

About 90 participants are in the program at any given time.

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