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Clark County Courts
Wednesday March 10th, 2010 :: 12:01 p.m. PST



LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Township Justice Court Judge Tony Abbatangelo is leading a team from San Diego this week through a series of workshops to assist them in establishing a DUI Court program.

Judge Abbatangelo will provide his expertise as an established DUI Court judge to help San Diego focus efforts on the creation of a program that will address the needs of individuals most likely to re-offend.

Abbatangelo is attending the three day workshop in Newport Beach, Calif. to provide assistance and advice to a nine-person team from the San Diego Superior Court. Judge Abbatangelo was recruited by the National Center for DWI Courts and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The San Diego team is made up of a judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers, law enforcement and a DUI Court coordinator. Judge Abbatangelo will share the DUI Court experience in Clark County and provide the San Diego team with the needed tools to establish a new DUI Court.

These programs have been proven to save taxpayers money by addressing the core of the individual's problem which is alcohol addiction or abuse.

“The Las Vegas Justice Court’s two DUI Courts focus on a therapeutic court model to seek a change in behavior and a goal of reducing repeat offenses,” said Judge Abbatangelo. “We have been very successful and now the Las Vegas Justice Court is sharing its experiences and examples of success with other courts.”

DUI Courts address the hardcore drinkers. A driver with a blood alcohol level of .15 or greater is at least 20 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers. Judge Abbatangelo uses token compliance gifts to reward and motivate participants to complete the program, which usually takes a year to complete. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings twice a week is required of participants in the Las Vegas Justice Court.

Participants doing well in treatment require less court appearances as they complete each phase of treatment. However, if a participant refuses to comply or has a relapse, the Judge can impose sanctions such as ordering the offender to return to House Arrest, writing an essay, community service, or requiring additional daily AA meetings.

All of these motivation and compliance strategies will be shared with the San Diego delegation. The conference continues through Thursday in Newport Beach.

Clark County Courts
200 Lewis Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 702-671-4528

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