Tiger Woods Florida DUI charge will be amended to Reckless Driving

It appears that Tiger Woods will not have a Florida DUI on his record.  According to an article on CBS news, the prosecutor assigned to the case is going to amend the charge to a reckless driving.  If Woods completes a DUI diversion program, the charge will be dropped.  Police reports from the case show that alcohol was not involved in the arrest, but prescription medications were.

Some people believe that DUI’s only involve alcohol, but the standard in Florida is whether or not the driver is impaired by ANY substance.  With prescriptions growing for controlled substance medications, such as Xanax and Oxycontin, police look for indicators of impairment beyond the “smell of alcohol”.  Even though a pill is prescribed to you, that does not mean you can safely operate a vehicle while taking it.

The DUI diversion program that Woods’ intends to participate in is not in place in every jurisdiction.  A diversion program is a program a defendant participates in and after completion, the charge is completely dropped.  The DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County demands that Woods pay a fine and court costs, complete DUI school level one, perform fifty hours of community service and complete the Victim Impact Panel put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  According to the article, Palm Beach started this program about four years ago.

Duval County does not have a DUI diversion program, yet.  Several counties in Florida have begun to look at diversion programs for this driving offense.  Most people arrested for DUI in Jacksonville have never been arrested before.  The big issue with DUI in Florida is that it carries a mandatory conviction.  That means that the judge does not have the discretion to withhold adjudication in any DUI case.  If you enter a plea to a DUI in Jacksonville, you will have been “convicted” of a crime for the rest of your life.  You can get by the “conviction” if the DUI charge is amended to a reckless driving, which is another misdemeanor.  A judge is allowed to withhold adjudication on a reckless charge.  In Jacksonville, if the prosecutor agrees to amend the charge, they will usually require that the defendant complete the same probation conditions as in a DUI case.  DUI probation requires fifty hours of community service, completion of DUI school, completion of the Victim Impact Panel, a ten day motor vehicle impound, a driver’s license suspension of six months and payment of a heavy fine.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County DUI Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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