Posted on: 19 March 2020Share
Those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can face serious punishments. If you had the opportunity to complete certain actions and have your charges dropped, would you? That is just what pretrial diversion programs offer. The opportunity is not available to everyone arrested for DUI, though. Read below to find out more about this way of diverting things away from the judge.
Why Choose Diversion
Pretrial diversion programs are meant to keep offenders out of jail, lessen the burden on the courts, and rehabilitate problem drinkers before they offend again. Driving while intoxicated might mean just a bad decision or it might indicate a person addicted to alcohol or other substances. These programs are often offered to first-time offenders in an effort to educate them about the dangers of drinking and driving.
How it Works
After an arrest, defendants are usually provided with a court date. Often, a plea bargain may be offered to defendants before that hearing occurs, though. If the defendant accepts the plea deal, it means they are pleading guilty. They might not be pleading guilty to DUI — it might be to a lesser charge. In some cases, they do plead guilty to DUI but the punishment is lower than the maximum. Defendants have the option to accept the plea deal or take their case to trial. A third option in the form of pretrial diversion is offered to a limited number of defendants. If all pretrial diversion requirements are met, the charges are dropped. Each state has its own unique pretrial diversion programs and they vary quite a bit. If you are interested in such a program, speak with your criminal defense lawyer about it as soon as possible.
What to Expect With Pretrial Diversion
Though they vary, some pretrial diversion programs include some of the following activities and requirements:
- In most cases, participants must pay a fee for pretrial diversion activities.
- Drug or alcohol counseling is a common requirement. That can mean anything from free mental health counseling, outpatient substance abuse counseling, or a requirement to attend AA meetings.
- Random testing for alcohol and/or other substances.
- Victim impact education that puts offenders in direct contact with victims of impaired drivers.
- Community service.
- Education about addiction and recovery along with information about how substances can negatively affect driving skills.
Regardless of whether you qualify for a pretrial diversion program, you will need help with your DUI case as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can help you qualify for diversion programs and so much more. DUI arrests don't have to result in a conviction. Speak to a criminal lawyer who practices DUI law about your case.