Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can bring with it a number of terrifying consequences. In some cases, however, you might be offered the opportunity to perform some actions rather than face the more dire punishments of being convicted of this crime. To find out more about pretrial diversions for those arrested and charged with DUI, read on.

Diverting Problem Drinkers

In some cases, those arrested for driving under the influence made a few bad decisions when they got behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. An arrest and spending the night in jail is often enough to scare the offender into never making that decision again. In many cases, drivers that are arrested early have a better chance of changing their ways. In other cases, the offender has problems with substance abuse, and driving drunk is only the tip of the iceberg of troubles. Either way, the court system has put in place programs that attempt to divert the defendant away from going the wrong way before it's too late. Pretrial diversion programs aim to educate DUI offenders about the dangers of drunk driving while also addressing the potential for rehabilitation for those with deeper problems.

What Diversion Programs Offer

These programs are usually offered as an alternative to a court trial or a plea bargain. First-time offenders may be given the opportunity to take part in pretrial diversion actions in an effort to educate and counsel rather than punish. Punishment could still happen, however, if the defendant agrees to participate in a program and then fails to follow through on all aspects.

The benefits of these programs vary depending on the unique points of each. Not all states offer pretrial diversion programs, and the requirements and consequences vary. Not only that, but the benefits can vary. In some locations, those that complete the program can have their DUI case dropped. The way the case appears on their criminal record can vary. There might be a notation of the arrest and show that the charges were dropped. In some places, the case information is there but invisible to anyone but law enforcement.

What Diversion Programs Require

Take a look at some common pretrial diversion activities that have to be completed before the case is dropped:

  • Pay a fee for participating in the program
  • Undergo alcohol counseling, attend Alcohol Anonymous (AA) meetings, etc.
  • Take classes about drinking and driving, alcohol abuse, etc.
  • Participate in workshops where victims of drunk drivers speak about their experiences
  • Undergo regular and random alcohol testing
  • Community service

The chance to even participate in one of these programs should be valued. Not everyone qualifies. Speak to your DUI lawyer about the potential to reduce the impact of your DUI arrest.