DUI cases are special, and as such several counties in Florida have responded by creating special DUI diversion programs. One such program is called “DUI Pretrial Diversion”. For many folks, this is an excellent option for resolving a DUI case, because completion of the program guarantees a DUI dismissal. And once this DUI case is dismissed at the end of the diversion program, the case can be expunged forever (assuming all expunge conditions are met, of course).
DUI diversion offers the same benefits as standard misdemeanor diversion programs, in that, once the DUI diversion program is completed, all charges are dropped. The main difference here has to do with the vastly increased punishment schemes found in DUI diversion programs statewide. Yes, DUI diversion will be much tougher than pretrial diversion programs granted for petit theft cases or a trespassing charge. How different? Let’s take a look….
First of all, DUI diversion typically costs more money than any other diversion program. Most diversion programs run about $300, but DUI diversion can cost up to $1,750, not counting costs for the various classes to be completed. These high fees are broken up into two payments, usually a $750 “program cost” that goes directly to the State Attorney’s office (diversion is run by the state attorney’s office). The other portion of this large fee, sometimes up to $1,000, is paid as a “monetary contribution” to such organizations as MADD. Additional fees may include cost reimbursement to the arresting law enforcement agency (usually not more than $200).
DUI diversion also requires community service hours, usually a minimum of 50 hours. Next comes the DUI Level 1 school, and any treatment or counseling that is recommended by the program. All DUI diversion cases require the completion of the Victim Impact Class given by MADD. Fortunately, this class is brief (4 hours), and only costs about $50. Random urine screening may be required as well. A 10 day vehicle impoundment/immobilization is a condition of DUI diversion, but worst of all, some programs require a 6 month ignition interlock device. In essense, the program will require the installation of a machine which requires the driver to blow into a machine before the car will start. Not only is this inconvenient, it’s costly too. Often, the installation is $250+, in addition to monthly service fees. Ouch.
So, after reviewing the above program requirements, you may ask yourself, is it all worth it? Yes. Absolutely. Remember, criminal defense attorney John Guidry reviews each case for options, as some DUI’s may be dismissed via jury trial, others dismissed via a Motion to Dismiss or Motion to Suppress, thus eliminating the need to pay for such programs. That being said, DUI diversion is often the next best option, and it’s always good to have any record of the incident erased via expungement. The facts of each case are different. As always, you may call John Guidry anytime (try during business hours, if you don’t mind) to discuss your options. Thanks, and have a great day.