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This sentencing guide is designed to assist judges and prosecutors in reducing recidivism among people convicted of driving while impaired (DWI). While the work of these and other professionals has contributed to the marked reduction in alcohol-related deaths on the highway since the early 1980s, in the past several years progress has stagnated.

The involvement of all practitioners in the sentencing process is crucial from both community and public health perspectives. Dealing most effectively with serious traffic offenders can make a substantial difference in community members’ health, quality of life, and public welfare.

This guide focuses only on the offender convicted of DWI. The term DWI is used interchangeably throughout this guide for driving under the influence (DUI) and operating while intoxicated (OWI)-it does not differentiate between DWI offenders convicted as a result of a routine traffic stop and those convicted as a result of involvement in a crash. This guide also does not deal with the more serious charges that could result from a DWI such as vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter.

The guide is an update of an earlier manual developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (NHTSA and NIAAA, 1996).