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Arizona DUI/Drug Diversion Gets $200K

Arizona DUI/Drug Diversion Gets $200K

By Larry Hendricks
Sun Staff Reporter

Flagstaff, Arizona resident Donna Falz had been drinking vodka that day in October 2003.

Her two daughters, ages 4 and 8 at the time, were in the vehicle with her. The accident happened while she tried to exit from Interstate 40 onto Milton Road. She doesn't remember what her blood-alcohol level was at the time, but she was drunk.

"Of course when you're in it you think you're not drunk," she said. "It was a pretty bad accident."

Her oldest daughter lost two fingers on her left hand.

"I was looking at prison time," she said. She would be taken away from her daughters.

Instead of prison in Arizona, Falz pleaded guilty into the county's DUI/Drug Diversion Court. She said she has the DUI/Drug Court, an alternative to prison, to thank for helping her get her life back from the grim grip of alcohol.

Now the program will be available to even more people, because DUI/Drug Diversion Court has received funding from the federal government to expand its services.

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Coconino County DUI/Drug Diversion Court a two-year grant of $200,000, according to a press release issued last week.

Brad Mattingly, director of DUI/Drug Diversion Court, said the grant will allow the local program to expand from 100 participants a year to 133. About two-thirds of the participants have graduated, with the remaining one-third having washed out and been given prison sentences.

DUI/Drug Diversion Court in Arizona is a 10-month, four-phase program that was created more than four years ago. The program's aim is rehabilitating non-violent offenders accused of alcohol- and drug-related crimes through regular drug testing and individual and group counseling. Drug Court has the ability to invoke immediate punishments for those who stray, and offer incentives for those who do well.

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