- DUI Court
Judge of State Court: Honorable Judge Ellen S. Golden
"The mission of the Court will be to confront the underlying substance abuse issues of multiple offense DUI offenders, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety in our community by requiring individualized substance abuse counseling and treatment while providing enhanced supervision and individual accountability."
The DUI Court uses a strong team approach (judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, substance abuse treatment specialist, law enforcement, probation officer, and others), forcing the offender to deal with his/her substance abuse problem.
General Program Information
What is DUI Court?
DUI Court is a voluntary, post-conviction, treatment-based program for those who have been convicted multiple times for driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs. The DUI Court program offers enhanced supervision, counseling, and treatment to help participants function in the community with continuing support. The program lasts a minimum of 15 months; however, most participants will require more than 15 months to complete the program, so a sentence of at least 24 months is mandatory.
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:
- be charged with their 2nd DUI in five years or 3rd or more lifetime;
- have sufficient charges to support a 24-month sentence;
- be a Lowndes County resident;
- be 17 years of age or older;
- show an indication of alcohol/drug abuse or dependence;
- have no history of violent arrests or sexual offenses;
- have no out-of-state warrants; and
- have a valid immigration status with no ICE (immigration) holds.
Benefits of the program include:
- possible temporary driving permit after 120 days with approval from the Judge and successful completion of conditions of the program
- less jail time;
- a temporary suspension of fine payment for up to first 6 months, if necessary;
- community service credit for successfully completing phases of the program;
- affordable treatment and alcohol/drug testing;
- supervision in meeting license reinstatement requirements; and
- support in achieving sobriety.
The cost of the program includes a 1-time $100.00 participation fee, $80 for initial enrollment into treatment, then $32 weekly thereafter for treatment, and $49 per month for probation supervision fees. This amount includes treatment, alcohol/drug testing, and case management. Any additional treatment (such as placement in a residential facility or treatment for co-occurring disorders) that a participant may require while in the program will be at his or her own expense. Participants who challenge positive test results will be required to pay for results that are confirmed positive by an independent lab.
DUI Court is divided into four (4) phases that each have a minimum duration; how long a participant is in a particular phase depends on the participant’s level of compliance and readiness to progress in the program. In the higher phases, the program requirements lessen
In Phases I and 2, participants attend court twice a month on Friday at 10:30 AM. In Phase 3 andAftercare, participants are required to attend the first DUI Court session of every month. Court usually lasts an hour, and sessions are presided over by Judge Ellen Golden, the DUI Court Judge for the State Court of Lowndes County.
Each participant accepted into the Lowndes County DUI Court program will be required to attend treatment sessions located at Redirect Counseling Services, Inc., 430 Connell Road, Valdosta, GA 31602. Group treatment sessions figure prominently into all phases of the program. Participants will also attend individual treatment sessions. In Phase I and 2, participants will attend a minimum of 2 individual sessions. In Phase 3, participants will attend a minimum of one individual session. The attendance requirement for all treatment sessions may vary based on the participant’s individualized treatment plan.
Throughout the program, participants are randomly alcohol and drug tested at least twice per week. Testing will be completed by the probation officer, the treatment provider, the law enforcement officer, and the court coordinator. Positive or tampered tests may result in a jail sanction; repeat positive/tampered tests may result in revocation and termination from the program.
Support Group Meetings
In each phase, participants are required to attend community support meetings, such as those offered by Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, and/or other organizations. In Phase I, participants attend one meeting per week; in Phase 2, two meetings per week; and in Phases 3, 3 meetings per week.
Transportation is one of the biggest obstacles that the participants will face. Depending on the number of convictions, a DUI Court participant may not have reliable transportation for a minimum of 120 days and some are unable to obtain a permit or any type of driving privileges for at least one year. The Lowndes County DUI Court has implemented a bike share program where participants can apply for a bike loan while in the program. The Court also has MIDS public transportation available to the participants to use for help getting to and from treatment at Redirect Counseling.
For more information, or to apply, please contact Stacey Bass, DUI Court Coordinator.
Email Elizabeth Peters Phone: 229-671-2895
Heather HarrisDUI Court Coordinator
DUI CourtPhysical Address
327 N. Ashley St.
Valdosta, GA 31601
327 N. Ashley St. Valdosta GA 31601
P.O. Box 1661
Valdosta, GA 31601
Phone: 229-671-2895Fax: 229-671-3441
HoursMonday through Friday8 a.m. to 5 p.m.