1st DUI Offender Program – Palm Beach County

Someone charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Palm Beach County for the first time may be eligible for the First Time DUI Offender Program. If eligible and admitted to this Program, the defendant agrees to complete four preconditions within two months of his or her arraignment. After completion of these preconditions, the prosecutor will nolle prossequi (dismiss) the DUI and the defendant will instead enter into a plea to reckless driving and receive a withhold of adjudication. Having the adjudication withheld is extremely important, because it makes this case eligible for sealing so long as the defendant successfully completes the Program. After entering the plea, the defendant serves 12 months of probation, and must complete certain conditions similar to the penalties of a DUI.

Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility for entrance into the program lies completely within the discretion of the Office of the State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida (Palm Beach County). Although the State evaluates eligibility into the Program on a case-by-case basis, the following factors automatically render a defendant ineligible for the Program:

  • breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.200of
  • A crash or accident
  • Cases involving
  • Defendants with prior commission(s) of similar offenses
  • Cases involving
  • Defendants who have received prior formal diversion programs (excluding juvenile diversion programs)
  • Cases involving
  • Defendants who have served prior prison sentences
  • Cases where
  • Defendants did not have valid driver’s licenses at the time of the offense
  • Cases where there are accompanying felony charges or accompanying drug/paraphernalia charges with the DUI arrest

A defendant whose first DUI is in Palm Beach County and does not have any of the underlying factors along with their DUI, likely will be offered the program.

What are the preconditions?
The Defendant will be offered the program most likely at his or her arraignment. If the State offers it, and the defendant accepts it, the case will be reset for two months for the defendant to:

  • Successfully complete 20 community service hours
  • Successfully complete DUI school and return to court with proof
  • Successfully complete the Victim Impact panel
  • Successfully install an Ignition Interlock alcohol monitoring device

As noted above, if the defendant satisfies these preconditions, the State will change the DUI charge and offer to withhold adjudication on a reckless driving charge, to which the defendant accepts the plea. The plea occurs at one of the satellite courthouses – wither Gun Club, South County, North County or Belle Glade.

What happens next?
After the plea to reckless driving the defendant will be ordered to start probation immediately. Probation will last 12 months, and have certain conditions. The conditions of probation rely entirely on what the defendant’s BAC at the time of the DUI:

For BAC levels below 0.150 (also known as Tier 1 Diversion Conditions), to successfully complete probation, the defendant must:

  • Pay $250 in fines and standard court costs
  • Successfully complete DUI School
  • Successfully complete any DUI school recommended alcohol/substance abuse treatment
  • Successfully complete 50 community service hours at approved location(s)
    Successfully complete the Victim Impact Panel or YouImpact online class
  • Have a 10 day vehicle immobilization (boot)
  • Have an Ignition
  • Interlock Alcohol
  • Monitoring system installed on his or her car for a period of three months
  • Not possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs or non-prescribed drugs during probation
  • Submit to random alcohol/drug testing conducted by probation at the defendant’s expense

For BAC levels between 0.150 and 0.200 (also known as Tier 2 Diversion Conditions), to successfully complete probation, the defendant must (changes from Tier 1 in italics):

  • Pay $250 in fines and standard court costs
  • Make a $250 donation to Palm Beach County Victim Services
  • Successfully complete DUI School
  • Successfully complete any DUI school recommended alcohol/substance abuse treatment
  • Successfully complete 75 community service hours at approved location(s)
  • Successfully complete the Victim Impact Panel (no YouImpact online class)
  • Have a 10 day vehicle immobilization (boot)
  • Have an Ignition Interlock Alcohol Monitoring system installed on his or her car for a period of six months
  • Not possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs or non-prescribed drugs during probation
  • Submit to random alcohol/drug testing conducted by probation at the defendant’s expense

What happens if the defendant does not successfully complete probation?
Failure to successfully complete probation results in the defendant being guilty of a probation violation, which carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Palm Beach County, call Michael White to learn about solutions and get expert legal advice.

For more information on diversion programs such as the Palm Beach County 1st Time DUI Offender Program and how to get your criminal history sealed or expunged, call Michael White.

1st Dui Offender Program Palm Beach County