Back in 2011, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced the start of "Back On Track;" a semi-diversionary program where a first-time DUI offender could have his or her DUI reduced to a reckless driving with the imposition of a withhold (no conviction) if they completed several conditions over the course of 6-12 months.
Since then, I have had several clients enter into the program and successfully complete its requirements. Rather than suffer the mandatory conviction (adjudication) of a DUI, these clients had their DUIs reduced to reckless driving charges and were able to seal these charges due to the imposition of the withhold.
However, there have been some changes made to Back On Track since its inception in 2011.
Most notable, there is now a mandatory ignition interlock device that must be installed in the participant's car. If you are a "Tier 1" participant - which means that you submitted to a breath test and the result was less than .15 - you must have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for a period of 90 days.
If you are a "Tier 2" participant - which means that you either refused the breath test or blew over a .15 - you must have the interlock device for 180 days.
An ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting their car.
Participants must also complete a two-hour online course called "YouImpact."
All original conditions - community service hours, DUI school, Victim Impact Panel, fines, and fees - are still the same. Fine and fee schedules vary depending on whether your are a Tier 1 or Tier 2 participant.
If you are Tier 1, you will do 40 community service hours. If Tier 2, you will do 60.
Also, program length depends on you Tier 1 or 2 status. Tier 1 requires 180-270 days in the program. Tier 2 requires 270-365 days.
Back On Track may be your best option, then again...it may not be. It costs a lot of money to complete, the conditions can be rigorous, and the evidence against you may not be sufficient for your Miami DUI lawyer to advise you to partipate in the program.
I have advised plenty of clients to accept the Back On Track program, but I have also had plenty of clients refuse to participate, opting instead to litigate the DUI case and possibly proceed to trial.
If you are Back On Track eligible, then you should discuss the merits of the program with your DUI attorney.
Back On Track IS NOT offered in Broward County.
Eric Matheny is a Miami DUI attorney.