Orange County’s Peculiar DUI Sentence Orange County’s ‘peculiar’ DUI sentence is gaining recognition throughout the nation and the world. Have you heard of the Orange County Youth Drug and Alcohol Deterrence Program? In 1988, YDAD was started as a response to the climbing youth drug and intoxication driving rates. It’s been a two-fold success; first, youth can take the course as a way to help them better understand the effects of DWI and as a way to prevent any future infractions. Second, those who have been arrested for driving under the influence are mandated to take part in the program to help reduce the recidivism rate and help them face their problems. But what exactly is so peculiar about this program when served as a sentence for DWI offenders? It’s not only the mandatory trauma unit visits but also the morgue visits. That’s right, offenders have to take a trip to the local morgue to see the ultimate results of a drunk driving crash. It’s there where “A Los Angeles County Sheriff Coroner presents a series of recent accidents as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, explains the physical effects of alcohol and drug use. The vivid examples of the short- and long-term effects on the body are something that is rarely seen or talked about.”¹ Some don’t see this as a good idea but those involved with the program strongly believe that it’s working and keeping these people from making mistakes. “Very seldom do we get anybody coming through on a table that attended the class,” says Ed Winter, the assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. “It’s been very successful.”² Not to mention that Thailand is now jumping on board for mandatory morgue visits for DUI offenders. While some argue that it’s not a good idea, most seem to support the idea that if offenders can witness what actually happens they may think twice about their life and what needs to change.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.