If you are arrested for a first-offense DUI in Hillsborough County, you may be eligible for the new RIDR (Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism) DUI diversion program. This initiative, which was enacted March 20, 2018, requires enhanced sanctions in exchange for a reduction of charge from DUI to “reckless driving.”
An estimated 20% of Tampa DUI cases are eligible for the RIDR program. If you are deemed eligible, this DUI diversion program requires you to complete the typical sanctions for a first-time DUI plus it requires the installation of an ignition interlock device, SCRAM monitor, or PharmCheck Drugs of Abuse Patch (if your DUI case was drug related).
In exchange for agreeing to complete the enhanced sanctions, the State Attorney’s Office will agree to reduce the charge from DUI to the lesser charge of “reckless driving” and allow for a “withhold of adjudication.” Additionally, the State Attorney’s office will agree to a sentence of twelve (12) months probation to complete the enhanced sanctions with the possibility of early termination.
The Purpose of The Tampa RIDR DUI Diversion Program
The RIDR DUI diversion program was created in response to Hillsborough County’s high instance of DUI crashes, injuries, and fatalities (ranked as one of the worst in the state). The State Attorney’s Office decided to create the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (“RIDR”) initiative in Hillsborough County, with the goal of reducing the recurrence of DUIs and promoting long-term community safety.
The RIDR program was created with several goals:
- To promote consistency in the prosecution of DUI cases (according to the State Attorney’s Office).
- To aggressively reduce the recurrence of driving under the influence through the imposition of enhanced sanctions and monitoring, and reduce crashes and fatalities due to impaired driving.
- To eliminate the incentive for offenders to refuse to provide a breath sample when pulled over for a DUI. (This goal, however, is greatly diminished by the fact that anyone with a BAC of .20 or higher is not eligible for the diversion program).
Am I eligible for the Tampa RIDR Initiative?
While the State Attorney’s Office stipulates eligibility requirements to be considered for the RIDR initiative, each case is assessed on an individualized basis. Because of this, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who can assess your eligibility and potentially help to make a stronger case for why you should be admitted into the program.
The following are the eligibility requirements for RIDR as put forth by the Tampa State Attorney’s Office:
- The pending DUI charge must be for a first-time, misdemeanor DUI;
- There can be no minor passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle at the time of traffic stop;
- The DUI did not result in a crash with property damage;
- 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 charges for:
- Other DUI chargess;
- 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;
- The defendant did not have a suspended driver’s license at the time of the arrest;
- The defendant is not currently being supervised in any Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program or on probation.
Do I still need a Tampa DUI Attorney with the RIDR Program?
Absolutely. If you are charged with a first-offense DUI, even if you think you may be eligible for the program, you still will need the help of an experienced DUI attorney to help you navigate the program and determine whether it is the best course of action for your case. A good DUI lawyer may also be able to allow you the best chance of being accepted into the program, and could potentially help expedite the termination of your probation and then seal your record if you are eligible upon wrapping up your case.
Additionally, every DUI has an administrative component governed by the DMV rather than the criminal courts. An experienced DUI attorney will ensure the best possible outcome when it comes to maintaining your driving privileges.
Is RIDR Right For You? Call Tampa DUI Attorney John Castro
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, call experienced Tampa DUI attorney John Castro of Anton Castro Law. If you are a first-time offender, the RIDR diversion program might be a good course of action; however you shouldn’t make any decisions without first consulting an experienced DUI lawyer.
Many DUI cases will not be eligible for the RIDR program, and because all cases are assessed individually, even those who may seem eligible could end up not being accepted to the program at the State Attorney Office’s discretion.
Tampa DUI attorney John Castro will assess your specific case and help you weight the pros and cons of entering the RIDR program if you are eligible. Call him today to have a DUI attorney who will represent your best interests: 813-907-9807