News Item
Hennepin County DWI Court Named National Academy Court

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Hennepin County DWI Court will receive national recognition as one of only four DWI Academy Courts in the United States on February 27, 2014, an honor bestowed by the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  As an NCDC Academy Court, Hennepin County DWI Court will help develop, identify and test national best practices for DWI Courts and provide technical assistance to programs interested in starting a DWI Court, including answering questions, providing advice and, in some instances, hosting visitors such as court teams participating in training. The ceremony will take place on February 27, 2014, at the Hennepin County Government Center at 11 a.m. in courtroom C1456.

NCDC Senior Director (Ret.) Judge J. Michael Kavanaugh will attend the event to formally recognize Hennepin County DWI Court as a National Academy Court.  “It is a great honor to recognize Hennepin County DWI Court as one of only four Academy Courts throughout the country,” said Judge Kavanaugh.  “For several years Hennepin County DWI Court has been a shining example of the best our criminal justice system has to offer.  The dedications of Hennepin County DWI Court’s team and the outstanding history of restoring lives and maximizing resources throughout this community made it an obvious choice as a learning site for other courts.”

There are now more than 600 DWI Courts nationwide including 17 DWI Courts in Minnesota.  Hennepin County DWI Court was founded in January 2007 with the goal of improving public safety and permanently changing the behavior of repeat DWI offenders.  In DWI Court, these individuals are held strictly accountable for their behavior while being supervised closely and given intense substance abuse treatment.  To date, Hennepin County DWI Court has enrolled 445 participants, of which 251 have graduated from the program and turned their lives around.  Currently there are 123 participants in the program.

Judge Kerry Meyer, presiding judge of Hennepin County DWI Court remarked, “Being selected to be an Academy Court is an honor that carries significant responsibility.  The Hennepin County DWI Court has a strong team of court professionals, volunteers, community organizations and law enforcement.  This court makes significant positive impacts on the lives of repeat DWI offenders and their families and improves public safety as a result.  This is a court that works well and we are proud to share our knowledge and experience with other programs in the country.”

For more information about the Fourth Judicial District serving Hennepin County, visit the Web site at

About the National Center for DWI Courts

The National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) is a professional services division of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), established in 2007 and founded through a partnership with Beam Global Wine & Spirits.  The NCDC is the only dedicated advocacy, policy, training and technical support organization for DWI Courts in the nation.  Dedicated to delivering research-driven practices to reduce impaired driving recidivism nationwide, the NCDC is designed to:

  • Expand DWI Courts nationwide.
  • Improve DWI Court operations through training and technical assistance.
  • Maintain operational standards for DWI Courts.