Lincoln Co. Judge Pushing For OWI Court To Help Drunk Drivers Recover

By: Al Knox - Email
By: Al Knox - Email

It’s become a growing problem in central Wisconsin, drunk drivers on the road. Now, a Lincoln County Judge wants to start a new OWI court that would address the problem.

Every week Lincoln County Judge Jay Tlusty sees dozens of people in his courtroom with the same charges, operating while intoxicated. To help lower those numbers, he's looking to start an OWI court in Merrill. He believes it would allow court to deal with those charged in a way that be would be more beneficial than just throwing them in jail.

It would provide classes, and rehabilitation aimed at helping alcoholics deal with their problems, a move Judge Tlusty says can really help. "Incarceration or punishment is an aspect of it but we can do more. In terms of treatment for the drunk driving not to happen, obviously there has to be some treatment, some reasons for people to participate in a program like this."

The OWI court is not a new idea. There are already a few counties in Wisconsin that provide such a service including; Marathon and Price County.

Judge Tlusty says that the OWI court is not finalized. It will take until at least mid 2013 to get the court operating, if the District Attorney and other departments in the Lincoln County legal system, agree to go forward.

The judge believes the program would save taxpayers money in the long run, but it would take a few years to notice the savings.

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