Does Proposition 36 Apply to California DUI Offenses?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Michael L. Davidson posted in drug possession on Monday, August 15, 2011.

In 2000, California passed the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA), also known as Proposition 36. In a nutshell, the Act provides for alternative treatment instead of incarceration for certain California drug possession convictions, however, some are wondering whether individuals convicted of DUI or drunk driving in California are also eligible to receive treatment under the law instead of jail.

According to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, Prop 36 was passed for a number of reasons including to improve public health and safety through the use of approved treatment strategies, preserve jail and prison capacity for violent and serious offenders, and cut taxpayer costs.

However, specifically, the program is only available for first or second offenders convicted of non-violent adult drug crimes involving drug possession. Despite the similar need for alcohol offenders to receive treatment under this program, California drunk-driving convictions are not eligible under Prop 36-but some say they should be.

Personal testimonials collected by the California office of the Drug Policy Alliance, reveal that Prop 36 is not only crucial for individuals caught in the spiral of drug addiction, but alcohol addiction as well.

Further, the program is found to save California taxpayers millions. Drug policy experts estimate that California saved at least $275 million in state revenue in just the first year Prop 36 was implemented. Further studies show that wider implementation of the program, to include convictions for alcohol offenses for example, would save the state even more money.

In a time when California’s budget woes dominate public policy discussions, smart programs like SACPA deserve commitment and investment. In the future, California legislatives may reconsider proposing a similar law to extend treatment options for alcohol offenders.


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The Law Offices of Michael L. Davidson
411 Borel Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94402

Phone: 650-573-8000
Fax: 650-345-9875
San Mateo Law Office