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Is There a Diversion Program for DUIs in Florida?

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A diversion program allows offenders to enter rehabilitation and avoid criminal penalties. For those who have been charged with a DUI in Florida, a diversion program probably sounds like a great alternative to a possible conviction, which can include fines, loss of your driver’s license, and even time behind bars.

But is there a diversion program for DUIs in Florida? Residents of most Florida counties will be disappointed to find that the answer to that question is typically no. However, if you live in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, the answer is more confusing.

A typical Diversion Program allows you to leave the criminal justice system, at least temporarily, in order to complete certain conditions. If you do all that is asked of you, then the State will dismiss your charge.  

Hillsborough hasn’t gone that far with DUI cases yet but, in March of 2018, the State Attorney’s Office introduced a program called Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR). While the RIDR program doesn’t end in a dismissal of your charge, it does provide you with a no-risk way of getting your charge reduced to a Reckless Driving, which can be a wonderful option for many people facing a DUI charge.

What Is RIDR?

RIDR seeks to reduce DUI offenders’ likelihood of reoffending and keep our roads safer by reducing drunk driving. The program allows offenders to have their DUI charge reduced to reckless driving—a much less serious charge—if they complete typical first-time DUI punishments, as well as some “voluntary” additional conditions like the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. A huge benefit to this program is that the State Attorney will also recommend a Withhold of Adjudication as part of the sentence. This decision is ultimately up to the Judge but, if granted, it will allow most offenders to have their record sealed after their case is closed.

Eligibility for RIDR

This program is for first-time DUI offenders in Hillsborough County, Florida. However, it’s important to remember that eligibility for the program is determined on a case-by-case basis. While this means that no one is guaranteed entry into the program, a few conditions will automatically disqualify you:

  • If you were charged with DUI in connection with an auto accident that led to property damage or injuries
  • If you blew over .20 (blood alcohol content) at the time of your stop
  • If there was a minor in the car at the time of the arrest
  • If you are already participating in another pre-trial intervention program

DUI cases that fall outside of the above categories may be eligible for the RIDR program, but eligibility is no guarantee of acceptance. That’s why it will benefit you greatly to have an attorney from Hersem Law negotiating to get you into this program (if that is how you would like to resolve your case).

Contact a DUI Lawyer at Hersem Law

If you have been charged with drunk driving anywhere in Hillsborough County, you have options when it comes to fighting your DUI charge. You can hire a Tampa DUI lawyer at Hersem Law to fight your charge directly, or you can work with Hersem Law to try to enter the RIDR DUI diversion program.

No matter the route you think you might choose, it’s important to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney at Hersem Law as soon as possible after your DUI charge. To get in touch with us and schedule a free strategy session, give us a call at 813-251-7291 or fill out the online contact form at the bottom of this page.

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