Our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense lawyers know that poor decisions don’t always necessitate decades of punishment. While being arrested for DUI could certainly negatively impact your life for years and years, we know that it doesn’t have to.
As we have learned from our experience, among the most meaningful legal strategies in a DUI case involves pursuing a DUI diversion program opportunity, an option that is often available to first-time offenders.
The program allows first-time DUI offenders to complete certain requirements, after which they will be eligible to have their DUI charges reduced or dismissed altogether. For anyone who hopes to move ahead with their life after a bad decision, this is a viable, beneficial option.
Everyone has made a bad decision or two in their life, some more serious than others. It’s safe to say that getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is more than a “bad” decision — it’s an incredibly dangerous one. That said, DUI incidents do not come about due to ill wishes on the part of the defendant. Most times, a DUI is the result of pure carelessness.
DUI diversion programs, such as the ones to which we have access in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade County, grant second chances to those who are willing to work for them. They are not, as critics like to categorize them, “get out of jail free cards.” They allow individuals to take advantage of what the court system offers in an effort to minimize the harsh consequences of unwise decisions.
For example, the 1st Time DUI Offender Program in Palm Beach County allows first-time DUI offenders to avoid jail time and stiff fines by allowing them to enter a plea of guilty, but to reckless driving, a second-degree misdemeanor. Following the plea, the first time offenders are placed on probation for a year. This means that the court dockets and jails are spared even more overcrowding, and that the first time offenders are allowed to pay for their actions in a less-harsh way.
In addition, participants in the program must pay a fine, perform community service, and complete four months of DUI school, which includes a substance abuse evaluation and treatment if deemed necessary. Individuals taking advantage of the program also must submit to random drug tests and have their car impounded for ten (10) days. Clearly, the diversion program is no walk in the park. It is, however, an innovation that allows individuals to redeem themselves.
A 1st time DUI conviction, absent the diversion program recently instituted in Palm Beach County, would otherwise lead to significant fines and court fees, 12 months of probation, mandatory community service, revocation of one’s driver’s license, possible jail time of up to nine (9) months, and a mark on your driving record — for decades.
The DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County, like others in the state, does not simply grant leniency to anyone. The program has strict eligibility requirements; drunk driving suspects who were involved in a crash, or who had children and/or animals in the car with them at the time of the incident, are ineligible. So, too, are individuals who have a prior criminal record and those for whom the DUI incident in question led to a felony or possession of drug or drug paraphernalia charges.
If you have any questions about this program or any other criminal defense issue, please contact our DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consultation by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to speaking with you.