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What is the implication of a Willard sentence on defendant convicted of felony DWI in NYC with an alcohol abuse problem?

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Can someone tell me the implication of a Willard sentence on defendant convicted of felony DWI in NYC with an alcohol abuse problem? When can this type of sentence be legally rendered? When can a Willard sentence be used? Has any attorney actually represented a client that was sentenced to a Willard commitment? What is your experience with this type of sentencing.

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A Willard Sentence refers to the Drug Treatment Campus which is operated by the NYS Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision in collaboration with OASAS. It was created in 1995 as a new sentencing option for low-level drug offenders and parole violators who previously would have been sent to a traditional prison. The Willard program was created as an intermediate sanction to deal with the problem of relapse.

Since recovery can be a difficult process with a significant number of addicts who relapse, it is felt by many experts that relapse should be regarded as a standard step in the recovery process. Before the Willard approach, there was no way to recognize this. Prosecutors and parole authorities were faced with an all-or-nothing choice — invoke the full measure of the state's punitive might and throw the relapse back in prison or, officially, look the other way.

Willard, however, offers another option for the courts. The DTC is a demanding, three-month, shock incarceration-style residential therapeutic program, followed by six months of out-patient treatment in the community under intensive supervision by parole officers affording a stronger measure of protection to the community than is provided by standard community treatment programs. For the addict, Willard is not only a reprieve from a full prison term, but a new opportunity to tackle his or her addiction.

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Willard is a 90 treatment program run by the NYS Department of Corrections. The defendant still receives a state prison sentence, but instead of going to one of the prison facilities is put into the treatment program. Upon successful completion of the 90 day program they are released to parole. In the event they violate parole they still face the possibility of serving state prison time. It is an alternative to incarceration that seeks to help offenders whose substance abuse played a large role in their criminal offense.

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Here is information on the specific section of the law to consult when a Willard Sentence is imposed and some facts about it:

Parole Supervision (CPL § § 410.91) (Willard) •Court may impose if defendant is sentenced under PL § 70.70(2)(a) to a determinate sentence, and defendant is an eligible defendant (CPL § 410.91[2]), and court makes required findings (CPL § 410.91[3]). PL § 70.70(2)(d)
•Judge must make findings of facts persuant to Criminal Procedure Law 410.91(3).
•Defendant put under the immediate supervision of parole and placed in a drug treatment campus for 90 days and then released.
•The consent of the prosecutor is not required.
•If Defendant violates the term of parole supervision, defendant may be returned to state prison.

If you are successful in the 90 day portion of treatment no one can stop you from getting out but you will be on parole and face state prison time if you violate the terms and conditions.

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