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DUI Diversion Programs

In Florida, a DUI arrest can have serious consequences, including jail time, expensive fines and revocation of your driving privilege. A DUI arrest can be frightening and stressful, especially if you are a first-time offender. For many first-time and nonviolent offenders, a pretrial diversion program is a possible way to avoid a criminal conviction.

In a pretrial diversion program, the participant has to meet certain requirements under supervision from the State Attorney’s Office. The program can include fee payments, sanctions or classes. If the participant completes the program without any issues, the state could agree to drop the charges.

Melbourne DUI Pretrial Diversion Attorney

Avoiding a DUI conviction can be tough, but a skilled attorney could be the difference in your case. If you are charged with a DUI in Central Florida, contact a Melbourne DUI pretrial diversion attorney at Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy. The attorney at Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy have experience on both sides of the law and can help you avoid a criminal conviction.

Call (321) 248-7742 to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation. Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy represents clients throughout the Brevard County area, including Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Malabar, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Melbourne, Palm Shores, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville and West Melbourne.

Misdemeanor Pretrial Diversion Program

The Florida Legislature has recognized the need to identify and divert some offenders to specialized programs. First-time offenders in the 18th Judicial Circuit, which includes Brevard County, may qualify for a misdemeanor pretrial diversion program. The program offers qualified misdemeanor offenders an alternative to formal criminal prosecution.

All referrals to the misdemeanor pretrial diversion program must originate with a recommendation by the Office of the State Attorney, according to the State Attorney 18th Judicial Circuit’s website. Having an experienced DUI attorney could be critical in getting the best possible outcome for your case.

If you are accepted into the 18th Judicial Circuit misdemeanor pretrial diversion program, you will sign a contract with the state, which waives your right to a speedy trial. Signing the contract also means you agree to comply with the program requirements and perform specific sanctions.

Participants typically are supervised for six to 12 months under the program, depending on the severity of the offense. The program requirements include payment of all applicable program fees and costs of prosecution.

Payment of program fees could include:

  • $360 for a program six months or less
  • $560 for a nine-month program
  • $720 for a twelve-month program
  • $50 payment for prosecution fee

Because the pretrial diversion program is a voluntary program, it is funded entirely through fees paid by participants. Therefore, there is no possible reduction of the fees or a waiver. The fees will be mandatory if you choose to participate and are accepted in the program.

Program Sanctions for DUI Diversion

Additional sanctions appropriate to each offense could apply. The sanctions could be ways to address the needs of the individual participant. For example, if you are in the program for a misdemeanor DUI, you could be required to attend an alcoholics anonymous meeting.

Other sanctions could include:

  • Regular contact with a criminal justice officer, at least monthly
  • A minimum of 32 community service hours at an approved agency, with the insurance fee paid by the program participant
  • Psychological or psychiatric evaluation and any treatment recommended, at program participant’s own expense
  • Alcohol and/or substance abuse evaluation and any treatment recommended, at the participant’s own expense
  • Random drug and alcohol testing, at the participant’s own expense
  • Educational classes, such as life skills courses

In return for a successful completion of the program and all of its associated sanctions, the state would agree to drop the charges in that specific case against the participant. This would allow the participant to avoid a conviction and a criminal record.

Finding a Brevard County DUI Diversion Lawyer

If you are a first-time offender charged with a misdemeanor DUI, there may be an alternative to jail time. A Melbourne DUI diversion attorney at Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy can help you find an alternate way to deal with your charges. Call (321) 248-7742 to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.