If you have been arrested for a DUI, chances are you have heard about programs that make it possible to attend classes or drug and alcohol rehabilitation to avoid jail time. These are called DUI diversion programs. In other states, this is a popular option, but what about when you have a DUI arrest in Florida? In this brief article, Clearwater DUI lawyers with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan share what you need to know about DUI diversion programs, and whether it is an option for you in Florida.
What is a DUI Diversion Program?
A DUI diversion program allows you to complete specific steps, such as attending a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, in place of other DUI penalties. This can be a preferable resolution to a DUI, which can often carry steep fines, jail time, and loss of license.
A typical Diversion Program allows you to leave the criminal justice system in order to complete certain conditions, like drug rehab or other therapies. If you do all that is asked of you, then the State will dismiss your charge. This option is increasingly popular in other states because instead of punishment, the person is given the opportunity to address their possible addiction and dangerous behaviors in order to prevent them in the future.
Is DUI Diversion Available in All Florida Counties?
DUI diversion is available in some Florida counties in one form or another. However, it is important to note this may not be an option in all counties. For example, in June of 2021, the State Attorney’s Office introduced a program called DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (DROP). This program ultimately helps first-time offenders avoid jail time and the psychosocial penalties of being charged with a DUI.
Can Charges be Reduced with DUI Diversion?
The DROP program previously mentioned is available in Pinellas County. Successful participation in this program will result in a reduction in the charge from DUI to reckless driving.
The benefit of reducing your charges is that you can avoid a steep increase in insurance costs, keep your driver’s license, and reduce the risk of negative impacts to your job or other work prospects. The stigma of a DUI can also be socially taxing, which leads to even more hardship. By reducing to a charge like reckless driving with the completion of DROP, you can avoid these penalties — not to mention reduction of sentence like jail time and fines.
Not every DUI arrestee will qualify for the DROP program. During your initial consultation with our highly experienced Clearwater DUI Defense Team, we will evaluate your eligibility for the program and develop a strategy designed to give you the best chances of successfully completing the program.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.