RIDR – DUI Diversion in Hillsborough County, FL
On February 19, 2018, the State Attorney’s Office announced the creation of a new DUI initiative called Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR).
According to Rena J. Frazier, the Chief of Policy and Communication with the Office of State Attorney in Hillsborough County, the DUI diversion program is “aimed at reducing impaired driving through enhanced sanctions.”
The new DUI diversion program became effective on March 1, 2018. Florida Statute Section §948.08 and §948.16 allow criminal cases to be resolved through pretrial diversion programs.
On February 26, 2018, the State Attorney’s Office invited DUI defense attorneys to attend an informational meeting about the new DUI diversion program, RIDR, at the Edgecomb Courthouse in downtown Tampa, FL. More than 100 criminal defense attorneys came to the meeting.
At the informational meeting, the State Attorney’s Office explained the eligibility and procedural requirements. The State Attorney’s Office also passed out a flyer explaining the program.
The attorneys were given an opportunity to ask questions. We learned that only about 20% of people arrested for DUI would be eligible for the diversion program. Even for those who are eligible, the State Attorney’s Office reserves the right to not allow someone to enter the program.
Several people pointed out that RIDR gave a huge incentive for people to refuse to take the breath test since anyone who blew over .20% would be automatically ineligible.
Several people asked if the judges in Hillsborough County were onboard with the initiative because a judge always has the right to refuse to accept the negotiated plea and force the case to trial.
Consequences of Entering the DUI Diversion Program
If you are eligible and the SAO agrees to let you enter the program, then the following will occur:
- the DUI will be reduced to reckless driving;
- the court will withhold adjudication; and
- the court will sentence you to twelve (12) months probation to complete the enhanced sanctions.
If you complete the probation successfully, then you might be eligible to seal the criminal history record entirely.
Eligibility Requirements for the RIDR Initiative
The following eligibility requirements limit the number of people who can take advantage of the RIDR initiative:
- The pending charge must be for a first DUI charged as a misdemeanor offense;
- The defendant submitted to a breath or blood test, the BAC result was at .20 or below;
- No crash with property damage occurred;
- At the time of the stop, no minor passenger under 18 years old was in the vehicle;
- The defendant is not currently being supervised in any Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program or on probation;
- The defendant does not have a prior record for:
- any prior DUI offense;
- any alcohol-related reckless driving;
- any charge of leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death;
- any vehicular homicide;
- any DUI diversion program or more than one non-DUI diversion program as an adult; or
- any adjudication or withhold of adjudication to any felony within the last five years before the date of this offense.
- The defendant does not have any pending:
- Florida Driver’s License Suspension;
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges;
- Driving while license suspended (DWLS) with serious bodily injury or death charges;
- Leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death charges; or
- Vehicular homicide charges.
The State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, FL, reserves the right to use other factors not listed here to find that a defendant will NOT be allowed to participate in RIDR.
Procedures for Entering the DUI Diversion Program
The enhanced sanctions depend on the following classification system:
- Level 1 – BAC at or below .15;
- Level 2 – BAC above .15 or no breath sample (or a refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test); or
- Level 3 – Drug-related DUIs.
To enter the program, the defendant or the criminal defense attorney must appear at arraignment to waive speedy trial and set the case for a final disposition approximately sixty (60) days out.
Before the next court date, the defendant must provide proof of completion of the Pre-Plea Sanctions to the SAO including:
- completing DUI school and recommended treatment;
- attending the MADD victim impact panel; and
- completing ten (10) community service hours.
For the Level 1 and Level 2 program, the defendant must also show:
- provide proof of installation of an ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device; or
- provide proof of installation of a continuous alcohol monitoring device, e.g. SCRAM.
For the Level 3 program, the defendant must also:
- not possess or consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or non-prescribed drugs; and
- use the PharmCheck Drugs of Abuse Patch with results provided to the SAO.
Enhanced Probation Sanctions for the RIDR Plea
After the satisfactory completion of the Pre-Plea Sanctions the offender will be offered a plea to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication and 12 months probation:
- Standard court costs and conditions of probation;
- Ten-day vehicle immobilization;
- No possession or consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or non-prescription drugs during probation; and
- Successful completion of DUI school and any recommended treatment.
For Level 1, the defendant must further complete:
- Fifty (50) hours of community service; and
- Install the ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device or any continuous alcohol monitoring device for three (3) months.
For Level 2, the defendant must further complete:
- Seventy-five (75) hours of community service; and
- Install the ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device or any continuous alcohol monitoring device for six (6) months.
For Level 3, the defendant must further complete:
- Fifty (50) hours of community service; and
- Wear a PharmCheck Drug of Abuse Patch (PharmChek® Drugs of Abuse Sweat Patch) for three (3) months with results provided to HCSO probation.
Finding an Attorney for RIDR in Tampa, FL
If you have questions about your eligibility to enter the RIDR diversion program in Hillsborough County, FL, for a first DUI, then contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
We fight DUI cases in Hillsborough County at the courthouse in Tampa and Plant City, FL.
This article was last updated on Friday, June 28, 2019.
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