The Miami Herald reported about a new DUI alternative program being initiated at the end of this month. If eligible, a DUI Defendant’s first DUI arrest will be reduced to reckless driving, a non-serious traffic offense, if they complete alcohol awareness classes and submit to alcohol monitoring and a period of alcohol abstinence. The program named “Back on Track” is scheduled to begin around the 1st of June, 2011. Some police officers and MADD proponents claim that the program “decriminalizes” DUI or turns a DUI arrest into a slap on the wrist. Prosecutors insist the Back on Track program is needed because much first-time DUI offenses are being dismissed at trial for lack of evidence or officers not showing up.
Defendants are eligible in the absence of an accident and another non-traffic criminal offense, and children in the vehicle. The program also requires a valid driver’s license, a relatively clean driving history, and no prior DUI arrests.
The program costs participants between $2,000 to $3,000 in fees and court fines. Refusals and breath tests of .160 or higher must have ignition interlock alcohol breath testing devices installed on their car. Successful program participants will get first offender treatment meaning no conviction will be entered at the end of the case. If programs participants re-offend they will be subject to enhanced penalties in the future. The Program should save take payers thousands of dollars per case and ease an already over-burdened taxpayer budget.