Monday, October 13, 2014

DUI Diversion Program / 1st Time DUI Offenders / DUI Arrest / BAC / Driver License / Reckless Driving / Palm Beach County / Miami-Dade County / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **305DUI

In recent years many Florida State Attorney's Offices began offering diversion (a means to avoid prosecution) for "non-complicated" DUI cases and first time criminal offenders.

Not every Florida jurisdiction offers DUI diversion, and those that do vary in their enrollment and program requirements.  If you get arrested for DUI then you should discuss the matter in detail with a local criminal defense lawyer (preferably one who's practice centers around DUI defense litigation) to determine your eligibility for diversion and, if you are not eligible, then what possible defense(s) you may enjoy and what you may reasonably expect in your unique case.

The attached Sun Sentinel article speaks about Palm Beach County's newly established (2013) DUI diversion program, but as I am more familiar with Miami-Dade County's version (called "BOT" or "Back on Track") I will discuss that one here and now.

In Miami-Dade County, the successful completion of the BOT program results in your DUI charge being reduced / amended to Reckless Driving (which is also a criminal traffic violation), and a "withhold of adjudication" (no points) on the amended reckless charge.  This permits both your DUI arrest and the amended reckless driving charge to be sealed (whatever good that will do you).

Like any diversion program, BOT is a program which is designed to make you think twice about future criminality by way of making you jump through a series of proverbial hoops during a period of supervision, successful completion of which results in a dismissal. The program is exclusively owned and operated by the State Attorney's Office and they have absolute and unequivocal discretion as to whether to admit you, keep you or "graduate" you from their program. 

Not all 1st time DUI Defendants are eligible for BOT in Miami-Dade County.  Following are a list of DIS-qualifying characteristics (if you have an of the following in your case / history then you are not permitted to enter BOT and will be prosecuted for your DUI):

1)  If you have ever been charged with a felony which was not dismissed (for whatever reason, meaning that you were either found guilty or received a "withhold of adjudication");

2)  If you have ever been charged with DUI, regardless of where or what happened to the prior DUI (even a dismissal and an apology letter from the arresting officer disqualifies you);

3)  If you have ever been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Reckless Driving or any criminal traffic charge resulting in injury or death which was not dismissed (for whatever reason, meaning that you were either found guilty or received a "withhold of adjudication");

4)  If you were ever charged with an auto accident involving at least 1 OTHER vehicle and whcih resulted in injury to a person (including you);

5)  If you blew (provided a breath sample) in your DUI case and your BAC was .25 or higher.

If you are not disqualified and are eligible then here is what will be expected of you:

A)  6 months reporting probation for BAC under .15 / 12 months for BAC .15 or higher / refusal;

B)  Completion of Level 1 DUI school within the 1st 3 months of the program;

C)  Substance abuse evaluation by DUI school within 1 month & treatment if deemed necessary;

D)  40 hours of community service for BAC .under 15 / 60 hours for BAC .15 or higher / refusal;

E)  2 hour Victim Impact Panel Class;

F)  Either 30 days SCRAM bracelet or 3 month ignition interlock for BAC under .15 / Either 60 days SCRAM bracelet or 6 month ignition interlock for BAC .15 or higher / refusal;

G)  Costs of supervision are $500 for BAC below .15 or $650.00 for BAC .15 or higher / refusal;

H)  Victim's Services / Law Enforcement Fund contribution of  $300 for BAC below .15 or $500.00 for BAC .15 or higher / refusal;

I)  $50.00 for Cost of Prosecution;

J)  Court Costs (average $350.00 for Reckless);

K)  Costs for DUI school, drug testing and treatment (if required); and

L)  Law Enforcement "cost recovery" (in whatever amount your arresting agency claims).

In addition, prior to enrolling in BOT, as a condition precedent, you will be required to sign an "Acceptance of Responsibility" document and to enter your "confession" into the record.  This is done to essentially kill your defense to the original DUI charge in the event that you are bounced out of BOT (for any reason).

Knowing that, the question now is whether or not diversion is right for you. There may or may not be viable defenses to the charges, affirmative or otherwise, or there may be factual, legal, procedural or substantive mechanisms by which to attack and beat the charges without going through diversion. 

The best way for you to get competent advise is going to be to have a face-to-face meeting with a criminal defense lawyer who can follow-up on your information with questions of her/his own, as well as review the police reports and citations and then offer an informed opinion. 

When it comes to the subject of drinking and driving, the best advice that you are ever going to hear is:  "Don't do it!  Get a DD (Designated Driver), not a DUI".

Be smart: Don't drink and drive, but, if you do, just say "NO{thing}", don't blow (in FL your 2nd subsequent refusal is a crime) and call me stat at 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

Michael A. Haber, P.A.: Providing creative criminal defense litigation services primarily in SoFlo since 1991.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"! 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

1-888-SHARK-8-1, 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

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