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DWI treatment program aims to prevent repeat offenders

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County's Driving While Intoxicated Intervention and Treatment Program is designed to keep people from committing multiple DWI offenses.

El Paso County Criminal Court Judge Robert Anchondo said more than 250 people have graduated from the program since it started in 2004, and only 14 have been arrested again. However, Anchondo said that does not necessarily mean they were arrested for DWI.

"It's constantly under judicial supervision. It's very intense. They go through rigorous testing, treatment and counseling. Certainly, if they're not complying, it merits sanctions," Anchondo said.

Anchondo said the program is designed for people who have committed three or more DWI offenses. One man who did not want to give his name said he decided to complete it after being arrested for DWI twice.

"Just about anywhere you go, they're always trying to sell you alcohol. Nobody is ever trying to keep you from doing it, unless you get in this type of a program," the man told KFOX14.

Rafael Camarena said he graduated from the program after being arrested for DWI four times in the last five years.

"There's a life with no drugs or alcohol. It's a much better life because you're conscious of everything," Camarena said.

Camarena said he continues to help give advice to people in the program.

Anchondo said this program is especially important during the holiday season, because he said December is also recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

"If you're going to be drinking and driving, designate somebody. Don't drive. Make our community safe. Make our roads safe," Anchondo said.

 

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