Palm Beach County DUI First Time Offender Program
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has a program for people who are facing their first DUI charges in West Palm Beach. The program offers an alternative to DUI charges for first-time offenders. If this is your first DUI arrest, the program could be an attractive option.
What is the West Palm Beach DUI First Time Offender Program?
The Palm Beach County DUI first time offender program is a diversion program for people facing DUI charges in West Palm Beach, Florida. There are two tiers of the program:
Tier 1 is for first time DUI offenders in Palm Beach County who have been arrested with a blood alcohol level between .08 and .15. Tier 2 is for first time DUI offenders in Palm Beach County with a blood alcohol level between .15 and .20 and for first time DUI offenders in Palm Beach County who refused a breath test.
If you choose to enter the Palm Beach County First Time Offender program, your DUI charge will be dropped, you will enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of Reckless Driving (a second degree misdemeanor), and you will be placed on probation for 12 months.
How do I Know if I am Eligible?
The Palm Beach County First Time DUI Offender Program is only available to those who have been arrested on DUI charges for the first time, with no accompanying felony or possession charges. You must have had a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest. Additionally, you may not have been charged with a similar offense, and you may not have served a prior prison sentence.
You are not eligible if you were in an accident at the time you were arrested for DUI, if you had a blood alcohol content of over .20, or if minors or animals were present in the vehicle when you were arrested. If you are not sure about your eligibility, contact one of our West Palm Beach Criminal Attorneys for help.
When can I Enter the Program?
If you are facing first time DUI charges in Palm Beach County, are eligible for the first time offender diversion program, and want enter the program, you will need to make your decision before your Arraignment. This program can be entered at any of the satellite courthouses: Gun Club, South County or North County.
What Does the Program Require Me to Do?
When you enter the program, you essentially sign a contract with the State where you agree to plead guilty to reckless driving and:
- To not possess or consume any alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs without a prescription for the 12-month duration of the program;
- To immobilize your vehicle for 10 days (aka putting a boot on your car);
- To submit to an alcohol monitoring device for a 3-month period (if you are in Tier 1) or 6-month period (if you are in Tier 2), which is one of the three following devices:
- Ignition Interlock: This device requires you to take a breath analysis test before you will be able to start your car.
- SCRAM Monitor: This device is an anklet bracelet that constantly monitors your blood alcohol level.
- Visual Alcohol Monitoring: This device combines photo and breath testing devices to ensure the identity of the person submitting to the test.
- To pay a fine and court fees- Tier 1 includes a $250 fine and Tier 2 includes a $500 fine;
- To submit to random urine tests;
- To perform 50 community service hours (Tier 1) or 75 community service hours (Tier 2) at a court-approved location;
- To complete level one of the DUI School within the first four months of the program;
- To complete a substance abuse evaluation within the first two months of the program;
- To complete a one-hour Victim Impact Panel Class.
That Sounds Like a Lot - What if I Fail to Complete the Program?
If you fail to complete the Palm Beach County first time DUI offender program, the DUI charge will be reinstated and you will be sentenced to 90 days in the Palm Beach County Jail.
Should I Sign Up for the Program?
If you are facing your first DUI charge in West Palm Beach, deciding whether to enter the first time DUI offender program can be difficult. A Palm Beach County DUI defense lawyer from our Criminal Defense firm can guide you through the DUI process, review your case, and help you make the best choice for your individual circumstances. When the firm accepts a case, we accept it with the ultimate goal of obtaining the best outcome possible. If you have been arrested for DUI in the Boca Raton, West Palm Beach or Boynton Beach area, take quick action and contact a Palm Beach County DUI Defense Attorney today.