Brought on by a significant number of DUI cases lost in court, and mounting overtime paid to police, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office rolled out a DUI diversion program targeted at first offenders.
The program will be monitored by two private not-for-profit companies, Court Options and The Advocate Program. Some first-time DUI offenders will be given the opportunity to avoid a DUI conviction by participating in the program. They will be required to attend substance abuse classes and counseling, perform community service, submit to drug testing, pay hefty fines and, in some cases, have an ignition interlock device installed on their car.
Offenders charged with causing accidents or having minors in the car will not be eligible for these programs. Offenders with any alcohol-related past may not be eligible. The approximate financial costs of the programs will range from $2,000 to $3,000. Upon successfully complete the program, the State will amend the DUI charge to Reckless Driving with a withheld adjudication of guilt. The criminal record is eligible for sealing, if there are no prior convictions or record sealing.
The bad news about the diversion program is that in order to take advantage of it, you are required to agree to a “statement of responsibility" to the DUI charge. You cannot challenge any aspect of the DUI case if you enter the program. If you don’t complete the terms of the diversion program, the State Attorney's Office will attempt to introduce the statement against you at trial.
Here is the criteria and requirements for the program tiers:
This program has been on-line since May, 2011. There are only two other similar programs in the State of Florida; Alachua County (Gainesville) and Orange County (Orlando).
Tier 1 Tier 2 Vehicle Actions 10-day impound($) 3-month ignition interlock ($$) Monetary Donation $300 $500 DUI School $252 $387Treatment if Required Cost of Prosecution $50 $50 Cost of Supervision $500 $650 Cost of Recovery As requested ($) As requested ($) Community Service 40 hours 60 hours Victim Impact Class (2 hours) ($) (2 hours) ($) Approximate Total $1,500-$2,000 $2,200-$3,000
I strongly advise people to consult with a qualified DUI defense lawyer before deciding what to do.