The Palm Beach County State Attorney's office has a DUI diversion program for first time offenders. This program is discretionary and not all DUI offenders will qualify for the program. The program is designed to give first time DUI offenders a break by reducing the DUI to reckless driving. The program has strict requirements. There are two different programs, Tier 1 and Tier 2, offered by the state attorney's office. The tier level is dependent on the defendant's breathalyzer readings.
Tier 1 DUI Diversion – Palm Beach County
Tier 1 is reserved for a defendant who blew less than 0.15 on the breathalyzer machine. The DUI will be dismissed and the defendant if the defendant enters a guilty plea to reckless driving. The defendant receives a withhold of adjudication. A withhold of adjudication means that a defendant is not convicted of a crime.
The Defendant will be placed on probation for a period of twelve months. He or she must complete DUI school and follow through with any recommendations for counseling. The defendant must attend a victim impact panel. The defendant must complete fifty hours of community service at an approved location. There is a $250.00 fine. The defendant must install an ignition interlock device for a three month and have his or her vehicle impounded for ten days. This requirement may be waived if the defendant does not own a vehicle. Finally, the defendant must not possess or use alcohol, illegal drugs or other non-prescribed drugs.
Upon completion of the program, the defendant will be eligible to have the record sealed if he or she otherwise qualifies. A record sealing allows a defendant to deny being arrested for the crime and prevents the public from viewing the record of the arrest in the Palm Beach County clerk of court's database. This is important for people who are seeking a new job because employers often do background checks on prospective employees.
Tier 2 DUI Diversion – Palm Beach County
Tier 2 is reserved for a defendant who blew more than 0.15 and less than 0.20 on the breathalyzer machine. The DUI will get reduced to reckless driving. The defendant enters a guilty plea to reckless driving and receives a withhold of adjudication.
The defendant will be placed on probation for a period of twelve months. The defendant must pay a $250 fine and court costs. There is a mandatory $250.00 donation to Palm Beach County Victim's Services. The defendant must complete DUI school and follow through with any required counseling. He or she must perform 75 hours of community service at an approved location and complete the victim impact panel. There is a mandatory ignition interlock device requirement for six months. This is the machine that a driver must blow into to start their vehicle. The defendant's vehicle will be impounded for ten days. Upon successful completion of probation, the defendant may have the reckless driving charge sealed.
Will I automatically get a DUI diversion in Palm Beach County?
No, the prosecutor assigned to the case decides if he or she will allow a defendant into the program. The plea must be accepted at Arraignment. Arraignment is the first court date after the Defendant's First Appearance. It is the stage in the criminal proceedings where a defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. A DUI attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor to offer a reckless driving charge to an otherwise ineligible defendant.
Should I accept a DUI diversion if it is offered to me?
DUI diversion is generally a good outcome, because it allows a defendant to have the record sealed upon successful completion of probation. However, there are times when it is not a good choice. For example, the defendant may have a winnable case due to problems in the state's case. Also, the defendant may be a poor candidate for probation. In these situations, the defendant may be better off fighting the DUI charge. It is important to hire an experienced Criminal Defense attorney who will provide an honest evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This will help to ensure that you are making the right decision if you choose to accept DUI diversion.
Contact a DUI attorney near me
The Palm Beach County DUI lawyers at Bottari & Doyle can help you navigate the complex legal process of reducing your DUI to reckless driving, obtaining a withhold of adjudication, and getting your DUI record sealed. Call the Bottari & Doyle DUI lawyers today at (561) 588-2781 or fill out our quick contact form for a free case review.