Suburban Philadelphia County Shutting Down DUI Court Over Heavy Caseload

Court officials are shutting down a special court for drunken driving cases in the Philadelphia suburbs because it’s been too busy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Sept. 23 that Montgomery County is ending the two-year pilot program because drunken-driving is about a third of its cases, too much for one judge to handle.

Last year the presiding judge handled 1,250 trials and more than 1,000 cases that were resolved through a diversion program designed for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

The Inquirer says Montgomery County put all DUI cases through the special court, but in other areas they’re only for repeat offenders.

Prosecutors tell the paper the program was fast, efficient and consistent, but public defenders say it often led to harsher punishment for low-level offenders.