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Here are several things to get you started:

  1. Let the Tennessee Drug Court Administrator know you are interested in starting a DUI court. Her name is Liz Ledbetter and you can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 615-532-3411

  2. Make sure you have everyone at the table. Have a meeting that includes your local stakeholders and ensure everyone is on board. This includes at least your local elected officials (law enforcement, district attorney, mayor, members of your local commission, the judge who would preside over the court), but also the public defender, area treatment providers, mental health providers, large employers, the prevention coalition (if you have one), the faith community, vocational organizations, probation services, etc. This list could get pretty big, but you want to know up front where support lies and where barriers may exist. You won’t get a DUI court off the ground without support from the district attorney, and you want to know which providers are willing to work with you before it’s time to send someone to treatment!

  3. Visit a DUI court near you if possible. Tennessee has only a handful of DUI courts, but many of the recovery courts serve DUI offenders. Call TADCP or ask Liz Ledbetter which courts would be good for you to visit. You can also visit the directory on our website.

  4. Research, research, research! There’s a lot of information out there, including implementation training that can set your new program up for a strong beginning. Visit www.nadcp.org, and check out the National Center for DWI Courts at www.dwicourts.org, an NADCP arm and accessible on the main website. NCDC provides training and technical assistance for implementing and operational DUI courts.

  5. Determine funding resources. There are some state specific funding streams assessed through DUI fines and fees that are available for DUI courts. You can also contact the Tennessee Highway Safety Office at https://www.tn.gov/tdot/section/ghso. They receive federal dollars that can be used for DUI court implementation.
    In addition, the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) conducts a grant solicitation each year, and funding for implementation is usually a priority. Visit www.bja.gov for more information.

  6. Whether you are able to access national implementation training or not, you will need to go through some training and strategic planning to put your new program together. There are a variety of resources available to help you. Please contact TADCP at 615-939-2872 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can be a resource to support your efforts. Liz Ledbetter with DMHSAS is also able to help.