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Sanctions That Work Best

Data on the effectiveness of all the different DWI sanctions used in the United States are inadequate and some data is conflicting. However, available information supports the following generalizations:

  • Ideally, an evaluation of an offender’s problem with alcohol or abuse of alcohol, administered and interpreted by qualified professionals, should be conducted before deciding which sanctions to impose (Popkin, Kannenberg, Lacey, and Waller, 1988; Wells-Parker et al., 1990; Mayhew and
    Simpson, 1991; Simpson, Mayhew, and Beirness, 1996).
  • Consistency in sentencing should be balanced with the need to tailor sanctions and the extent of treatment to individual offenders (Donovan and Marlatt, 1982; Perrine, Peck, and Fell, 1988; Wells-Parker, Landrum, and Topping, 1990; Jones and Lacey, 1998).
  • When dealing with recidivists, the focus of sentencing should shift from deterrence to incapacitation or separation of the offender from the vehicle (Jacobs, 1990; Marques, Voas, and Hodgins, 1998).
  • There is a growing body of evidence that sanctions administered on the vehicles of DWI offenders substantially reduce DWI recidivism during the period of implementation (Rauch et al., 2002b; Marques et al., 1998).
  • Intensive supervision probation combined with frequent meetings with the judge and close monitoring of compliance with the offender’s sanctions (e.g., DWI courts) appear to be effective in dealing with multiple repeat offenders (Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1996; Jones and Lacey, 1998).

In general, effective sanctions fall into the following areas:

  • Licensing sanctions
  • Vehicle actions
  • Assessment and rehabilitation (appropriate treatment and recovery)
  • Other sentencing options

Research indicates that a combination of sanctions is more effective than any individual sanction
(Jones and Lacey, 2000).