Similar programs have been implemented in other Florida counties. In fact, Orange County (Orlando) has had a successful DUI diversion program in place for years. I believe that is where the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office originally got the idea.
Now unlike true diversion programs, such as Pretrial Diversion (PTD), which may be offered for first-time offenders charged with misdemeanors, those accepted into Miami-Dade's "Back On Track" will undergo a 6-month probation-like program where they will be made to complete many of the conditions that were originally required when somebody pleaded no contest to a first DUI and received the first DUI mandatory minimum sentence.
The program is still in its early stages so it's hard to tell at this point how successful it has been. Also, from what I understand, the program may entail significant fines and costs.
Not everyone will be accepted into the program. If your DUI involved a crash or an allegation of a child being present inside of the car, you will automatically be ineligible.
If this is your second or third DUI, you will not be eligible.
If you are charged with a felony DUI (serious bodily injury or third and subsequent) you will not be eligible.
Obviously, DUI manslaughter is not an eligible offense.
There will be increased fines and penalties for "high blows" (.15 and higher) and refusals. The applicant may still participate in the program, but their conditions will be more greater than those who consented to the breath test and blew between a .08 and .149. This, I imagine, is to encourage people not to refuse the breath test.
If you pay everything and complete all conditions, your DUI will be reduced to reckless driving for which you will receive a withhold of adjudication.
If you have no prior convictions, you can seal this arrest.
By no means should this deter you from contacting a Miami DUI attorney. Diversion is not guaranteed and while in diversion, your case is still open. Also, you may want an attorney to seal your record for you upon completion.
If you are ineligible due to a traffic accident, a child in the car, or this is not your first DUI, then you should certainly retain a lawyer.
Since half of my criminal defense practice is in Broward County, I am waiting to see if they follow suit and implement their own diversion program. Broward already has Misdemeanor Drug Court (which Miami-Dade does not have). I wonder if they will jump on the bandwagon and offer diversion to first-time DUI offenders? Time will tell.
Eric Matheny represents clients charged with DUI and other criminal offenses in Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to speak with Attorney Eric Matheny directly regarding your criminal case.