OGDEN -- The word client instead of defendant sometimes slips into the open-court discussion in 2nd District DUI Court, the Top of Utah's latest alternative court.
The word defendant is also replaced by his or her first name. The approach is to assign treatment as well as punishment, building a support system that includes a judge.
"I am happy today," Esteban Martinez said, grinning as he approached the podium in Judge Mike DiReda's regular Thursday afternoon session of DUI Court.
"I heard you hadn't been," DiReda answered, and they briefly discuss his child custody arrangements.
At the end of his bi-weekly session, Martinez announced to applause that he's 107 days clean, what organizers call the tent revival aspect of the program, which can last a year or longer.
"Hello, Michael," DiReda said, as Michael Matthews stood before him. "You're doing great, made a $100 payment on your account, attending your therapy, negative UAs. How many days?"
"It's 206 days clean," Matthews responds, again to applause from all assembled.
Next, Anthony Martinez has a slight problem, and becomes the first defendant in the four-month life of the fledgling DUI Court to have a glitch in his UA, or urinalysis test.
"It came back positive," DiReda told him.
"I'm shocked," said Martinez, in the program almost two months now without a problem. "I didn't drink."
Those in DUI court undergo the random chemical testing from one to four times a week.
DiReda ordered Martinez to perform 16 hours of community service. A second positive test for alcohol use will bring two days in jail, handcuffed on the spot in open court. A third violation brings a week in jail, and a fourth likely tosses the offender out of the program.
That means his felony DUI is not reduced to a class A misdemeanor, and his next DUI is an all but automatic prison term.
DUI court is for felony DUIs -- the third drunken driving arrest in a 10-year period. Participants can have no injuries attached to their charges, or any violent offense on their criminal record.
Anthony Martinez had been 174 days clean, before this day. The UA testing DUI court uses is expensive and supersensitive, able to detect even the alcohol in some mouthwashes, the judge tells Martinez.
For now, Martinez still has a chance. "Check your mouthwash ingredients," said a still smiling DiReda.
"The boundaries are blurred between prosecutor and defense attorney in the DUI Court, like all the alternative courts," said Deputy Weber County Attorney Gary Heward, the prosecutor assigned to DiReda's DUI court, held each Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
"Everyone's primary interest is what do we do to keep this person from drinking and get them treatment, keep them employed, and progressing one more day away from their drinking lifestyle. It's a team effort, with the judge, treatment, AP&P, public defenders, everybody involved."
Heward acquired the $300,000 federal grant to fund the program for two years. Currently 15 offenders are in DUI Court. The number will reach 30 the first year and 45 the next. They pay a $250 start-up fee and $30 a month toward their counseling and UA testing. They've already pleaded to their charge and served a minimum 62-day jail sentence.
"There is no question any more that the alternative courts work, with a much lower recidivism rate than the traditional criminal justice system response," Heward said. "They are no longer considered experimental."
Ogden's is the first free-standing DUI Court north of Salt Lake City, officials said. Davis County recently blended DUIs into its 2nd District Drug Court.
Jeromy Sampson, the Adult Probation and Parole agent assigned to DiReda's DUI court, said normal probation would result in one UA test a month at best. "The supervision they're getting is amazing ... and if they violate the terms, the sanctions are swift, happen within a week. It can take months with normal probation."
The biggest part of the federal grant covers the costs of UA testing and the intensive counseling required by DUI court.
Individual one-on-one counseling is conducted weekly for the first three months if needed "until they are stabilized," said Jaime Diarte, clinical program manager from Weber Human Services, the agency contracted with the courts here for substance abuse testing and counseling. Diarte, April Bakker and Craig Anderson from the agency ride herd on the DUI court.
In addition to the weekly individual counseling, she said, those in DUI Court are required to attend group therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, or even Narcotics Anonymous, up to four or five meetings a week.
"There are at least eight different meetings of either AA or NA groups going on somewhere from Brigham City to Salt Lake City every day," Diarte said. "If they need to, they can find one every day of the week."
Ogden's 2nd District Court is on the verge of opening yet another alternative court: mental health court, likely the second in the state.
Judge Mark DeCaria, who already runs the Weber County Drug Court, would head it, said Judge W. Brent West, presiding judge over the 2nd District.
The Ogden court may be close to pursuing a start-up federal grant, West said.
"Davis County is also pursuing one," he said. "There are discussions."
"We see a number of defendants with bi-polar disorders, schizophrenia and paranoia," West said. "The mentally ill do not respond to traditional punishment ... and typically if they stay on their medication, the criminal behavior stops."