Lancaster County Celebrates First DUI Court Graduation

Lancaster County Celebrates First DUI Court Graduation

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The first graduation ceremony for Lancaster County DUI Court (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) was held at the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln under Presiding Judges Darla Ideus and John Colborn.

Participants were joined by an overflowing room of family members, employers, and friends who attended to celebrate the accomplishments of the first graduating class. The ceremony began with an introduction from the presiding judges, after which each participant was invited to receive their certificate of completion, order of discharge from probation, and their celebratory DUI graduation coin.

Chief Justice Mike Heavican served as one of three dignitaries to make remarks during the session, thanking Judges Ideus and Colborn for their excellent work. He also thanked Senator John Lowe for attending, noting that the Nebraska legislature, and Senator Lowe in particular, are hugely supportive of the Nebraska problem-solving court system.

DUI courts are an increasingly popular form of alternative sentencing for those convicted of driving under the influence. There are now two different types of DUI courts in Nebraska, one in Scottsbluff and one in Lincoln. Each offers a variety of benefits to both offenders and communities. They provide specialized attention to offenders, monitor them closely to reduce recurrence, and often use rehabilitation as part of their process.

Drug and problem-solving courts are an important part of the criminal justice system. They offer individuals accused or convicted of low-level drug offenses the opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration rather than lengthy incarceration. The role of judicial officers in this process is essential. Through their involvement in drug court proceedings, judges can provide an expectation of responsibility with added encouragement that cannot be achieved outside the court setting.