Diversion Programs for Your 1st DUI Offense
The Red and Blue Lights that Mean a DUI is Coming
The red and blue lights of a cop car are flashing behind you, and you know you’ve been drinking. A DUI arrest is imminent. As the officer approaches, you consider your loss of license, potential jail time, and wonder how you will possibly afford the fines. Also, you remember reading that you’re about to be looking at 75 years of a D.U.I. charge on your record in the state of Florida. But, if this is your first misdemeanor DUI offense, there may be better answers for you, starting with calling your attorney.
Your attorney may be able to help you enter a diversion program for your 1st D.U.I offense. In the legal system, a diversion program reroutes a case from the court system, thus decreasing the case load burden on the courts. The benefit is less strain on the judicial system, and in exchange, you may have your sentence reduced. These programs may be called a pretrial diversion program or an intervention program. Visit last month’s blog for more details and a general overview of diversion programs.
A DUI Diversion Program Offers Hope
Some states and counties offer diversion programs specific to D.U.I. In Pinellas and Pasco Counties, the diversion program for DUI is referred to as D.R.O.P. It stands for DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program. It may include substance abuse treatments and mandatory, random testing for substance abuse.
Eligibility for DUI Diversion
In order to qualify for the D.R.O.P. in Pinellas or Pasco County:
First off, your blood alcohol content cannot be over .150 during the incident.
Additionally, some of the qualifications for DUI Diversion include:
- You cannot have a minor in your car at the time of the incident
- You cannot have prior traffic diversions
- You must have a valid driver’s license at the time of the incident
- Also, if you have caused significant property damage or bodily harm, you are ineligible.
What Is Expected of Me with DUI Diversion?
For the Pinellas and Pasco D.R.O.P. Diversion Program, you must complete 50 hours of community service. If you live outside the county, you may be able to complete your 50 hours in an equivalent fashion in your home county. It is not possible to pay a fine to exempt you from community service. You must also take a Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) approved course for DUI. For a list of accepted courses, visit FLHSMV. Further, you must take a Victim Impact Panel course specific to DUI offenses offered by M.A.D.D. This course illustrates the impact that drunk driving has on victims of the crime.
In addition, you must plead guilty to Reckless Driving. You will also be on probation for 6 to 9 months, and potentially be required to complete additional tasks, depending on whether you have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 violation. While this may seem like a lot, remember, DUI is a serious offense, with potentially life-threatening results for both you, your passengers and others. Acceptance of a charge of Reckless Driving, instead of Driving Under the Influence, is a far better result on your record.
Acceptance of a Diversion Program for Your First DUI Offense Might be your Best Defense!
If you’re looking for a Diversion Program for your 1st DUI, Bartlett Law Offices is familiar with Diversion Programs for DUIs. We will help you find the most successful outcome possible for your case and help you navigate all the judicial system requirements for acceptance of a DUI diversion program. Give us a call or visit our webpage and fill out our simple form. We can even text you back. We’re available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m at 727-712-7502.
We believe that before you are in need of a second chance, you need the best defense for your first chance! Bartlett Law Offices has the experience you need to handle any criminal charges against you. You can trust that we will provide you with a professional, ethical, and knowledgeable defense.
More to Read
Come back for next month’s blog about juvenile offenses and diversion programs. For additional reading right now, visit the online Office Of The State Attorney Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
NOTE: This information is specific to Florida. Laws in other states vary, and you should seek counsel in your own state. None of these statements is intended to replace professional counsel regarding your specific issue as the nuances of the law are vast and complex.