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The Broward County State Attorney has just announced the start of the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program. Up until this point, anyone in Broward County who had been arrested for a DUI only had the option of challenging the charge in court or accepting a guilty plea.
With this new option, should you enroll in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program if you get arrested for a DUI?
The newly announced Broward County DUI Diversion Progam is a pretrial program that 1st time DUI offenders in the county can enroll in to avoid having a DUI conviction on their criminal record.
The program can take between 6-15 months to complete depending on the facts of the DUI case. The intervention program requires the successful completion of several conditions such as DUI school, community service hours, random drug and alcohol testing, and more. Upon completion of the program, the defendant will agree to a plea of reckless driving with adjudication withheld, a driver’s license suspension for 6 months, and the installation of an ignition interlock device into the defendant’s personal vehicle.
The next thing you should know about the new Broward County DUI Diversion Program is that not everyone who is arrested for a DUI in Broward County qualifies to enroll. There are a variety of elements that may disqualify someone who has been arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, or other cities in Broward County from participating in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program.
There are several reasons why an individual may not qualify for the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program. It is important to note that if this is the case for you, there are still many options available at your disposal. Our Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorneys at the Rossen Law Firm are very experienced with seemingly “unbeatable” DUI cases and can fight zealously for you.
One of the biggest glaring issues with the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program is the fact that participants are required to wear ankle monitors throughout the duration of the program. This is a very unusual requirement and none of the other South Florida DUI Diversion Programs in other counties require it.
A SCRAM or TAD ankle monitor periodically tests the wearer’s sweat for traces of alcohol consumption. The monitor uses transdermal technology to evaluate the sweat samples and then sends the data to law enforcement.
The first tier of the Broward County DUI Diversion Program can take 6 to 12 months to complete. If you were to enroll in the program, you would have to spend up to the next year of your life wearing an ankle monitor everywhere you go.
If you blow over .15 on the breath test, then the time period is even longer. Individuals in tier 2 of the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program can be looking at up to 15 months of wearing an ankle monitor.
This requirement can be a major impediment to your personal life. Wearing an ankle monitor can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and impractical. If you have children, you would have to wear the ankle monitor when going to your child’s school or sporting events. If you are taking a shower, you would have to wrap it so it does not get wet. Many of the personal problems you would incur by enrolling in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program can be avoided by simply retaining a DUI Defense Attorney to fight your case.
If you enroll in the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program, one of the things you are agreeing to is having your driver’s license suspended for 6 months after completion of the program.
Sure, you would not have a DUI conviction on your record, but it would come at the cost of going the next 6 months of your life without your driving privileges. Additionally, when you first enroll in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program, your personal vehicle will be immobilized for a mandatory 10 days.
These conditions will severely limit your ability to go about your life. Imagine not being able to drive for 6 entire months. This could inhibit your ability to go to work, take your children to school, get groceries, and perform any other responsibilities that you have that are not within walking distance of your home. Even if you have someone willing to assist you during this time, you would still be incurring a severe consequence that could have been avoided by hiring a DUI Defense Attorney to fight your case instead of enrolling in the program.
After completing the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program, another one of the conditions of your plea deal would be to drive with an ignition interlock device inside of your car for 6 months.
Simply put, an ignition interlock device is like a breathalyzer machine that is connected to your car. Anytime you want to start your vehicle you would need to breathe into the device and blow under the legal limit in order to start the vehicle’s ignition.
To put matters into perspective, if you are in Tier 2 of the program, it could take almost two years from the time you start the diversion program to the time you are no longer required to use the ignition interlock device. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to obtain an associate’s degree from a community college. You would spend about two years of your life with your ability to drive severely limited.
Alternatively, if you were to hire DUI Lawyers at the Rossen Law Firm to fight your case, you could potentially maintain your ability to drive and avoid the restraints found in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program. In the state of Florida, anyone who has been arrested for DUI has 10 days to save their driver’s license. The individual can either request a formal review with the Florida DMV to reinstate full driving privileges or waive the formal review and immediately obtain a hardship license.
If you obtain a hardship license, you can continue going to work and taking your children to school while your attorney fights your DUI charge. If you enroll in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program, you would still be able to apply for a hardship license to reinstate some of your driving privileges but you would be left alone to navigate the complex process without the help of an attorney.
Although every DUI case is different, it is possible to achieve a better outcome in your case other than what is offered in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program.
For instance, if a DUI Attorney helps you achieve a reckless driving resolution in your case, it is possible to be given back your full driving privileges as a part of the plea deal and not be required to use an ignition interlock device.
There are many conditions within the Broward County DUI Diversion Program that are both costly and unreasonable. The program requires participants to pay an application fee, a monthly supervision fee, an ankle monitor fee, and other miscellaneous costs. Not only does the program require participants to be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests, but these tests are also paid for at the participant’s expense.
Additionally, it is possible to have your case reduced further than a reckless driving charge. It is even possible to have your charges dismissed altogether. Yet, if you enroll in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program, you waive your ability to fight for these outcomes.
Furthermore, if you do not retain a DUI attorney to fight your case, then you would be required to show up to every minor court date scheduled for your case. This would limit your ability to carry on with your life as these miscellaneous court dates can cause interruptions to your personal and professional life. A DUI attorney, on the other hand, can waive your right to appear at court and show up on your behalf to most court proceedings.
Perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program is the possibility of being removed from the program at any time for violating any of its strict requirements. Failure to abide by any of the conditions within the program may result in immediate disqualification.
There are several different deadlines you would be required to follow if you enroll in the Broward County DUI Diversion Program. For instance, you must be enrolled in the program within 45 days of your arraignment, prior to any requests for discovery. Additionally, you must complete a minimum of 6 months within the program within the first 12 months of your arrest if you are in Tier 1 of the program. If you are in Tier 2, then you must complete 9 months of the program within 15 months of your arrest.
The Florida State Attorney reserves the right to add additional conditions to the diversion program on a case-by-case basis. If you are arrested for a new offense while in the program then you would be subject to immediate disqualification. Even if you receive a traffic ticket during the course of the program, it could result in your disqualification.
Given all of the issues with the Broward County 1st Time DUI Offender Program, one of the most important things you can do following a DUI arrest is to contact a DUI Defense Attorney. At the Rossen Law Firm, we offer free strategy sessions where we break down the details of the case with you and formulate a plan of action. Call us to schedule a free strategy session with one of the attorneys in our legal dream team today.
Rossen Law Firm’s legal team understands what’s at stake when you’re charged with a crime in South Florida. We’re committed to defending you and protecting your rights. Our legal team is ready to create a customized strategy for your case to fight for the best possible outcome. We handle Criminal, DUI, Federal, Domestic Violence, Marchman Act & Baker Act cases, and more.
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