Diversion Programs: What You Need To Know After Being Charged With A DUI

Posted on: 11 May 2016

If you have recently been pulled over, arrested and charged for drinking and driving, you may be scared out of your mind. This is the first time this has ever happened and you don't know what to do. Luckily, first-time offenders often have an easier time of showing prosecutors and the court that it was a mistake and that they are able to behave more responsibly moving forward. One way to do this is through a DUI diversion program. However, these aren't for everyone, so it important to understand how these programs work before simply agreeing to enter into one.

You Will Likely Need to Enter a Guilty Plea.

As long as you didn't cause significant property damage and injure someone, a diversion program will probably be offered to you if this is your first DUI offense. The rules will be different for each state. However, many states will often require that the offender plead guilty to the DUI before the diversion program can be officially offered. Usually, the DUI diversion program is offered on a suspended sentence.

How Does a Suspended Sentence DUI Diversion Program Work Exactly?

With a suspended sentence diversion program, your DUI conviction will only be erased from your record when – and only if – you complete the program in its entirely and as requested by the court. Here is how the process works:

  1. You Will Plead Guilty to the DUI – Initially, you will plead guilty to the DUI and receive a sentence. However, you will not serve the sentence. Instead, it will be deferred or suspended so that you have time to meet the terms that are set forth for the diversion program.
  2. You Will Agree to Perform Certain Acts – You will enter into an agreement with the prosecuting attorney to behave a certain way. This could be a certain number of hours of community service at a pre-determined location or an agreement to not commit a certain crime, such as driving drunk.
  3. Your Charges Will Be Dismissed (Or You Will Be Convicted) – If you are able to successfully to complete your diversion program, your charges should be dismissed at the end of the program. However, if you fail to abide by the terms of the aforementioned agreement and fail to complete the DUI diversion program, the deferred or suspended sentence will immediately become an active and you will be convicted of the crime that you pled guilty to.

This just a very basic overview of a DUI diversion program. This is also just one type of diversion program that may be available. Each state is different in the programs that are offered, so it is important to speak to a local DUI lawyer who can talk to you about state-specific programs in your area and help you become familiar with available options in your particular case.

For a DUI lawyer, contact an attorney such as Kayle Jackson