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Home Courts By County El Paso County Driving Under the Influence
Driving Under the Influence
(DUI) Court
History and Background

The El Paso County Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court started in June 2008, and the Teller County DUI Court started in 2010.  Judge Jackson Peters founded the 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller Counties) DUI Court program and presided over it until his retirement in September, 2011. Judge Dan Wilson presided over the El Paso County DUI Court program from September 2011 until April, 2013. Judge Lin Billings Vela began presiding over the Teller County DUI Court program in October 2011 and began presiding over the El Paso County program April 2013. Judge Regina Walter began presiding over the DUI Court in January 2015 until her retirement in January 2019. Judge Jessica Curtis began presiding over the DUI Court in January 2019 to the present. Magistrate Jami Vigil began presiding over DUI Court in March 2020 to the present.

Overview of current presiding Judge

Magistrate Jami Vigil

Magistrate Vigil is the presiding judicial officer in the Fourth Judicial District’s Driving Under The Influence Court program as well as the Fourth Judicial District’s Family Treatment Drug Court program.  Magistrate Vigil also handles a full docket including Dependency and Neglect, Adoption, Paternity, and Child Support cases.  Magistrate Vigil has served El Paso County as a judicial officer since January 2011 and is extremely active on several Best Practices Court Committees, the El Paso County Offender Treatment Board, as well as Colorado’s Technical Assistance and Program Support Subcommittee developing unified standards for problem-solving courts.  Magistrate Vigil was honored to receive the El Paso County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 2017.

Magistrate Vigil devoted her professional career to public service.  Prior to her service on the bench, Magistrate Vigil worked as a Colorado State Public Defender, a Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency & Neglect, Delinquency, Truancy, Paternity, and Probate cases, Respondent Parent Counsel, Alternate Defense Counsel as well as immigration detention/deportation defense counsel.  Magistrate Vigil provided legal services to Colorado’s immigrant communities for over ten years.  She is particularly proud of her years as the Program Director for the Rural Immigrant Outreach Project, serving the State’s large Spanish speaking immigrant community in immigration matters and “know-your-rights” presentations, funded by the University of Colorado.  Magistrate Vigil served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Honorable Justice Alex Martinez, now retired from the Colorado Supreme Court.

Magistrate Vigil received a law degree and a master of arts degree from the University of Colorado. She also has a master of public health from the University of Illinois and master of science in pharmacy from the University of Florida.

Mission and End Goal of the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court

The primary goal of the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court is to protect the client and others (the public) from the many dangers associated with drunk driving.  It is our hope that the client will not drink and drive again after the successful completion of this program.  In recognition that most people entering this program have an addiction to alcohol, it is also our hope that client’s will learn to develop a lifestyle that is alcohol free.  It is our goal that clients develop a personal lifestyle of sobriety and experience a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.  Sobriety doesn’t cause all of life’s problems to go away, but it does provide a stronger footing to cope, correct and resolve.  Our hope is that the client will be a happier and healthier person.

Benefits to the Public

Protect the client and the public from the many dangers associated with drunk driving. 

Legal eligibility:
  • Has a New Felony DUI offense. And, the current offense and last prior must be within 5 years of each other

  • Criminal history/charges/convictions do no indicate presence of aggravators, such as: higher felony charges, vehicular assault, homicide, serious accident, significant criminal history

  • Is probation eligible

  • Does not have sex offense(s) conviction that requires registration

**Program eligibility will be determined after referral upon screening by probation and treatment

Referral Process – How participants get into the program

The Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court program is designed for high risk/high need repeat DUI offenders. Clients are referred into the program by Judges and attorneys that think that this program is appropriate, and cases will be transferred to DUI Court for observation/screening.

Program requirements

The DUI Court is a 2-year probation sentence. The program includes an Orientation Phase, followed by Phases One, Two, and Three that are supervised and may be accomplished in no less than 16 months.  All supervised phases will involve many contacts with the DUI Court team members.  It will include therapy, AA/NA or other approved recovery support, probation appointments, regular court appearances, random testing, community service and payment plan arrangements, among other things.  As you progress and show success in your sobriety the subsequent phases become less rigorous and less time consuming. Upon successful completion of Phase Three, your supervised probation will be terminated. Phase Four will be monitored on unsupervised probation for the duration of your probation sentence.

Graduation and Life After DUI Court

Your participation and success in the DUI Court requires your honesty, courage, and commitment to yourself and your community. Graduation marks your successful completion of the DUI Court Program and termination from probation. You will have prepared a Life Plan to present in court to the DUI Court team and your peers.  This will be your personal plan for continuing success beyond DUI Court.

Contact(s) for questions and information

Lydia Longo, DUI Court Probation Officer

Phone number: (719) 452-5795

Email: lydia.longo@judicial.state.co.us

 

Erin Walker, DUI Court Program Coordinator

Phone number: (719) 452-5047

Email: erin.walker@judicial.state.co.us

 

 

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