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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) courts

Adult Criminal Justice
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated August 2016.
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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) courts are a type of therapeutic court for persons with a DUI offense. Participants enter into a contract with the court and agree to comply with treatment and supervision requirements. Non-compliance may result in the imposition of harsher sentences. DUI courts typically involve a team of stakeholders (e.g., participant, judge, treatment provider, case manager, and supervising officer). Most courts include required treatment and DUI education and involve judicial monitoring including random breath or transdermal testing. DUI courts include incentives, rewards, and sanctions as well progressive stages in which continued compliance with DUI court stipulations and requirements leads to less monitoring. DUI courts in these studies were typically 12 to 24 months in length.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $2,996 Benefits minus costs ($4,086)
Participants $0 Benefit to cost ratio $0.56
Others $5,284 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($3,123) benefits greater than the costs 19%
Total benefits $5,156
Net program cost ($9,242)
Benefits minus cost ($4,086)

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
37 4 474 -0.223 0.098 39 -0.223 0.098 49 -0.299 0.001
37 6 2424 -0.135 0.053 39 n/a n/a n/a -0.185 0.049
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime Criminal justice system $2,996 $0 $5,284 $1,498 $9,778
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($4,621) ($4,621)
Totals $2,996 $0 $5,284 ($3,123) $5,156
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $7,076 2009 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($9,242)
Comparison costs $0 2009 Cost range (+ or -) 10%
Cost estimates were used from Mackin, J., Lucas, L., Lambarth, C., Waller, M., Allen, T., Carey, S., & Finigan, M. (2009). Howard County District Court DUI Court Program Outcome and Cost Evaluation (pp. 1–53). Portland, Oregon: NPC Research.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Breckenridge, J.F., Winfree, L.T., Jr., Maupin, J.R., & Clason, D.L. (2000). Drunk drivers, DWI 'drug court' treatment , and recidivism: Who fails? Justice Research and Policy, 2(1), 87.

Carey, S.M. Herrera Allen, T. & Einspruch, E. (2012). San Joaquin DUI monitoring court process and outcome evaluation, final report. NPC Research. Portland, OR.

Cissner, A.B. (2009). The drug court model and persistent DWI: An evaluation of the Erie and Niagara DWI/Drug Courts. Center for Court Innovation. New York, NY.

Fell, J.C., Tippetts, AS., Langston, E.A, United States., & Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. (2011). An evaluation of the three Georgia DUI courts. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hiller, M., Saum, C., Taylor, L., Watson , C., Hayes, W, & Samuelson, B. (2009). Waukesha alcohol treatment court: Process and outcomes. Temple University, Department of Criminal Justice. Philadelphia, PA

Jones, R.K., United States., United States., & Mid-America Research Institute. (2011). Evaluation of the dui court program in Maricopa County, Arizona. Washington , D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

MacDonald, J.M., Morral, A.R., Raymond, B., & Eibner, C. (2007). The efficacy of the Rio Hondo DUI court: A 2-year field experiment. Evaluation Review, 31(1), 4-23.

Ronan, S.M., Collins, P.A., & Rosky, J.W. (2009). Effectiveness of Idaho DUI and misdemeanor/DUI courts: Outcome evaluation. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 48(2), 154-165.

Taylor, E., Zold- Kilbourn, P., Carey, S.M., Fuller, B., & Kissick, K. (2008). Michigan DUI courts outcome evaluation. NPC Research. Lansing, MI: Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office.