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DUI Diversion Programs

When a person makes the decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, he puts his life and the lives of others in serious jeopardy. As easy as it might be to write every impaired driver off as a selfish or careless person, some have a very real and intense addiction to alcohol or drugs that needs to be treated. In cases where the offending driver is in the grips of an addiction, she may be able to go to rehab instead of jail for a DUI charge.

DUI diversion programs are a type of specialized rehab that serves as an alternative to jail time for drivers whose actions can be at least partially attributed to a serious substance addiction. Although authorities often order inmates to attend 12-step meetings or other kinds of therapy while in jail, these are often not enough.

In an organized DUI rehab program, professional addiction treatment specialists focus on helping drivers instead of just punishing them. Such help can turn lives around, protect the public from future impaired driving incidents, and protect patients from future DUIs.

A Deeper Look at DUI Diversion Programs

Every DUI diversion program is different, but they all involve diverting drivers from jail to structured treatment. Programs typically include the payment of a fine, some form of community service, appropriate substance abuse/DUI classes, and submission to randomly administered urine testing. There are two primary types of these programs, which will be discussed in the next section.

DUI diversion programs not only provide a recovery-based alternative to jail for drivers, they also have a positive impact on society. In addition to removing hazardous drivers from the road and preventing potential crashes, giving addicted persons the proper care they need allows them to return to their lives as healthy, substance-free members of society.

Individuals in recovery are all around us, working hard, supporting their families, and living their dreams. The equation is simple: By helping addicts improve their lives in structured DUI diversion programs, we actively improve our world.

Program Types: Pretrial Diversion vs. Deferred Adjudication

decorative scales of justice

Because no two DUI cases are the same, there are a couple of different ways DUI diversion can occur. The two kinds of DUI diversion programs are commonly known as pretrial diversion and deferred adjudication. The main difference between these programs is that one occurs before the defendant enters a guilty or no-contest plea while the other occurs after the defendant enters a guilty or no-contest plea.

Below, we take a look at the unique ways in which these two program types differ.

Pretrial Diversion

Also known as a pretrial intervention or deferred prosecution, pretrial diversion is a type of DUI diversion that begins before the defendant’s plea (guilty or no-contest) has been entered. Legally, prosecution is halted while the defendant undergoes treatment and works to meet a set of predetermined conditions. Should these conditions not be met, prosecution can legally resume as though the pretrial diversion never occurred. If the conditions are met, the case will be dropped.

Because a pretrial diversion can take some time to complete, the defendant may have to waive his right to a speedy trial and/or relinquish any protections that would usually be given under a statute of limitations. In some cases, the prosecutor may need to have the consent of any victims before she can offer a pretrial diversion to the defendant.

Deferred Adjudication

Sometimes called a stay of adjudication, deferred adjudication is a type of DUI diversion that begins after the defendant’s plea (guilty or no-contest) has been entered. Instead of suspending prosecution as in a pretrial diversion, a deferred adjudication simply suspends the entering of a judgment by the court.

Like its pretrial counterpart, this type of program involves setting conditions that the defendant must meet to prevent judgment. If the conditions are not met, a guilty judgment will be entered, the defendant will be convicted, and punishment will be assigned. If the conditions are met, the charges will be completely dismissed and there will be no conviction.

Are You Eligible for a DUI Diversion Program?

The requirements for DUI diversion are typically set by state and local statutes. Often, states will limit diversion eligibility to first-time offenders and/or to individuals whose blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is below a particular percentage (commonly 0.15%). Some states also require defendants to plead guilty first, limiting diversion options to deferred adjudication only.

If you’re facing a DUI and your accident caused one or more deaths or serious injuries to victims, you may not be eligible even if it’s your first offense and you have a qualifying BAC test result. Your eligibility may also be rescinded based on other relevant factors, such as whether you had any minor children in the vehicle, have an existing felony on your record, or have previously participated in a DUI diversion program.

In the state of California, not all drivers have the option of diversion. Unfortunately, California does not allow first-time offenders with alcohol-only DUIs to avoid conviction through a diversion program. First-offenders with other drug addictions, however, may still be eligible. If a person is facing an alcohol-related DUI charge, as well as a drug possession charge, he may be eligible to enter a diversion program for the possession charge (but not the DUI charge).

California DUI Diversion Programs

If you are offered the opportunity to enter a DUI diversion program in California, you have a rare second chance to avoid spending time in jail and having a serious conviction on your record. As soon as you’re able to begin your program, you’ll need to find a DUI rehab center that can help you recover from your addiction and meet all the legal requirements of your program. Yellowstone Recovery in southern California is one such option.

Through Yellowstone Recovery’s supervised medical detox, individual therapy, and group therapy sessions, our clients are able to regain control of their lives, meet the requirements necessary to avoid conviction, and build skills that will help them lead renewed, fulfilling lives.

Jail Isn’t Your Only Option—Get Evaluated Today!

Whether you live in Orange County or your DUI diversion program allows you to travel within the state for rehab, our professional drug and alcohol treatment facility has the expertise, medical staff, and residential space to help you beat your addiction and prevent a DUI conviction. Call us today at (888) 418-4188 to get started.

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