A DUI arrest can be extremely devastating. Not only can it cost you a lot of money for an attorney, fines, court costs, costs for vehicle impound, and higher insurance fees, it can also cost you your driver's license, possible jail time and it will stay on your driving record for 75 years. A DUI also comes with a mandatory conviction, meaning you cannot get your criminal record sealed or expunged. But a Tampa DUI attorney may be able to help you avoid some of those consequences. A Hillsborough County DUI attorney can help you find out about the new RIDR program that will avoid a DUI conviction, court-imposed driver's license suspension plus you may be able to have your criminal record sealed.
The program was first announced in February 2018. At that meeting, Tampa DUI attorneys were able to get details about the program requirements and ask questions. The program gives first time DUI offenders in Tampa and Hillsborough County the chance to avoid not only a DUI conviction but a criminal conviction altogether. The purpose of the program is to reduce the chance of people getting arrested for DUI a second time and thereby reduce the number of DUI arrests and the number of drunk drivers on the roads in Tampa and Hillsborough County. However, in order to reduce the chance of people driving drunk again, the program does require that anybody who wants to take advantage of the opportunity has to have an ignition interlock device installed or wear a SCRAM monitor. The reasoning behind that is that a study found that people who were wearing an alcoholic monitoring device had a much lower chance of getting arrested for DUI a second time. Another purpose of the program is to encourage people to provide a breath test when arrested for DUI. However, it seems that the fact that anybody who bows .20 or above does not qualify for the program defeats that purpose. The program officially started on March 1st, 2018.
The state attorney's office has made it clear that they will review every case separately to see whether or not a person qualifies. This means that even though there are general guidelines as to what would disqualify someone, that not everybody who falls within the guidelines will be offered the chance to complete the program and avoid the DUI conviction. Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer to help you fight the DUI and get into the program if that is the best option for you. Per the state attorney's office the general guidelines to qualify for the program are:
The pending charge must be a misdemeanor DUI (no felony)
The Person cannot have a prior record for:
DUI (including no prior DUI diversion program)
Alcohol-Related Reckless Driving
Leaving the Scene of an Accident causing injury or death
Vehicular Homicide or Manslaughter
No prior Felony Conviction or Withhold of Adjudication within 5 years of the date of arrest
No more than 1 prior non-DUI diversion program
No other pending charges for DUI, leaving the scene causing injury or death, driving while license suspended, or Vehicular homicide
The person can also not be on probation or Pretrial Diversion for any other charge
The person must have a valid driver's license at the time of the arrest
The incident cannot include an accident and no minor under 18 years of age was in the car
No breath test of .20 or above.