Over the past years, jurisdictions across Florida have implemented diversion programs benefiting those who are accused of DUI. All of them have one things in common: to reduce recidivism and promote public safety. In March 2018 the State Attorney’s Office in the Thirteenth (13th) Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County announced the implementation of a program for certain qualifying individuals who are accused of DUI called RIDR (Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism). Since the launch of this program, it has become evident that—like any other newly implemented program—the RIDR Program has its ups and downs. Nevertheless, if you are accused of DUI in Hillsborough County, it can be of your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney to identify what your options are, and whether or not RIDR can be an opportunity for you to benefit from.
In a nutshell, the policy behind the office of the State Attorney in the Thirteenth judicial Circuit for the implementation of the new program, in-part, if for improving public safety on roadways, reduce DUIs, and to decrease offender recidivism, which all have been of concern for the people of Hillsborough County. If you are accused of DUI in Hillsborough County, it is important to consult an experienced attorney to determine your eligibility for entry into the RIDR program. With that said, it should be noted that not every first time DUI defendant is eligible for admission into the RIDR program. Generally, you will be ineligible if you:
- Provided a breath test above a .20 blood alcohol content;
- Caused an injury or property damage in connection with your DUI;
- Have a prior conviction for reckless driving, DUI, or vehicular homicide;
- Were found guilty of a driving while license suspended/cancelled prior;
- Have been convicted of a felony from within the past five years; and/or
- Other disqualifying circumstances depending on a variety of factors.
Additionally, consulting an experienced attorney can assist you evaluating whether RIDR would be most suitable for you, or otherwise, discussing the facts surrounding your case to determine if you have other defenses in your case. Moreover, the State Attorney’s Office has made will be reviewing DUI matters on a case-by-case basis, and you can be denied eligibility for the program for reasons not identified above. Thus, if you do not qualify for the program and/or denied entry into the program, you may be subject to other penalties that an experienced attorney can assist you with identifying based on your circumstances.
One of the main reasons to consider participation in the program, through the assistance of an experienced attorney, is that upon successful completion, a DUI charge can be reduced to a reckless driving. Moreover, in certain circumstances, you can receive a “withhold of adjudication”, which allows those who qualify to have the DUI arrest sealed. Thus, you may be afforded an opportunity to keep your matter from future employers, or avoid having it appear in a background check.
Things to do.
First, if you are accused of a DUI in Hillsborough County, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Next, after being evaluated for entry into the RIDR program, discuss your options with your attorney, and identify if RIDR is for you. There are several “actions” or requirements that you must complete to successfully complete the program. Call us for a free evaluation and consultation if you are accused of a DUI. Our experience legal team can assist you in identifying whether RIDR is appropriate for you.