Guidelines for Sentencing DUI Offenders in the United States
Guidelines based upon research are needed to assist judges and prosecutors in reducing
recidivism among people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while
intoxicated (DWI). While the efforts of judges, prosecutors and other professionals has
contributed to the marked reduction in drinking-driving related deaths on the highway since
the early 1980s, in the past 10 years progress has stagnated (see Figure 1).
The involvement of all practitioners in the DUI 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
The guidelines in this paper focus only on the offender convicted of DUI or DWI (the terms
DUI and DWI are used interchangeably throughout this paper)?and does not differentiate
between DUI offenders convicted as a result of a routine traffic stop and those convicted as a
result of involvement in a crash. These guidelines also do not deal with the more serious
charges that could result from a DUI such as vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter.