Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court has been a leader in addressing the community concerns of repeat DWI offenders since the inception of the DWI Recovery Court (then the DWI/Drug Court) in 1997.
The program blends judicial oversight by a program judge, supervision by probation officers, a designated court calendar, use of incentives to reward and improve performance, graduated sanctions for non–compliance, and comprehensive substance abuse treatment and ancillary services to address causative factors associated with the offense. The program has been a key component in this Court’s efforts to enhance community safety, promote evidence–based practices for offender accountability, and support offender rehabilitation.
The DWI Recovery Court program team consists of one judge, seven probation officers, a program manager, and a programs division director. The presiding judge is the Honorable Edward Benavidez. Judge Benavidez also maintains a regular docket, in addition to donating his time to the program.
Since 1997, the program has served over 4,200 program participants including more than 2,700 successful graduates. As of the most recent outcome evaluation, the DWI Recovery Court Program has been successful at maintaining a 73% graduation success rate and an historical 5.5% three–year recidivism rate. This is in comparison to a 40–60% recidivism rate of general population DWI offenders who do not enter into a drug court program. This program is extremely cost efficient, costing an average of approximately $10.26 per day versus the daily incarceration cost in Bernalillo County of close to $80.00 per day.
Co–Occurring Disorders Track
This specialty track of the DWI Recovery Court program is geared towards the specific treatment of defendants dealing with both mental health difficulties and substance abuse addiction. These defendants are afforded specialty services by the presiding judge, probation officer, and clinical treatment staff who have all received specialized dual diagnosis training.
Spanish Language Track
This specialty track of the DWI Recovery Court program provides Spanish speaking services for those defendants who primarily speak Spanish. Interpreter services are provided during drug court sessions and the program offers both Spanish speaking probation officers and treatment staff.
Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court
This Court was initially established as a separate track within the DWI Recovery Court. However, in recognition of the distinct culture of Native Americans, a separate court integrating best practices in DWI and drug courts and the healing practices of Native Americans was established.
The Honorable Maria Dominguez presides over this Court as well as her regular docket. The team consists of a designated probation officer, a Native American counselor, a representative from the Law Offices of the Public Defender, and an assistant district attorney.