Facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is a serious matter with possible legal implications, such as license suspension, fines, and even imprisonment. These penalties vary greatly based on the severity of the offense, prior convictions, and local laws. Luckily, you don’t have to go through the legal process or ramifications alone. One potential avenue to explore is participating in a diversion program.
This is an alternative to traditional legal proceedings that allows individuals to receive help for their substance use disorder. However, it can be confusing to know if you qualify for a diversion program, which is where our team at John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm can help.
Everything You Need To Know About Diversion Programs
A diversion program is a legal alternative for individuals charged with a driving while intoxicated crime. Instead of going through the traditional court process and facing potential penalties, a diversion program allows those eligible to complete specific requirements. This gives them a chance to avoid having a criminal record. Examples of diversion programs include:
- Rehabilitation and Education: These programs often comprise requirements like attending counseling or alcohol education classes to address the underlying issues that led to the DWI charge.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing: Some diversion programs require regular drug and alcohol testing to ensure participants stay sober and comply with the program’s terms.
- Pretrial Diversion Programs: They offer a chance to avoid trial by completing specific requirements, such as education, counseling, community service, and sometimes treatment for alcohol-related issues.
- First-Time Offender Programs: Designed for individuals with no prior criminal record, these programs often involve education, counseling, and community service to address the underlying causes of the drug conviction or drunk driving offense.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Programs: These programs require DWI offenders to install an IID in their vehicles, which prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.
Participating in a diversion program offers numerous benefits for individuals charged with a DWI. Completing the program successfully may lead to reduced charges, minimized penalties, or even dismissal of the case.
Eligibility Criteria for a Diversion Program After a DWI
Qualifying for a diversion program with a DWI charge is subject to several factors, including the severity of the offense, prior criminal history, and local jurisdiction laws. Generally, individuals with a first-time DWI charge or a relatively minor blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may have a higher chance of being considered for diversion. An offender’s prior criminal history is also taken into account when assessing eligibility.
Those with a clean record or minimal prior convictions are more likely to be eligible, which suggests a lower likelihood of recurring criminal behavior. Local jurisdiction laws are pivotal in determining eligibility. Different areas have varying guidelines and requirements for diversion programs. In Louisiana, for example, offenders might be mandated to participate in alcohol education classes or counseling sessions. The court examines these factors collectively when determining eligibility.
Diversion Program Application Process
An attorney can help you navigate the diversion program application process. If the jurisdiction where you were charged offers a diversion program for DWI cases, you must contact the appropriate authorities or court personnel to get the necessary forms and information.
Next, you need to fill out the application forms that often ask for personal information, details about the DWI incident, and possibly your criminal history. Along with the application, you may need to submit additional documents, like a copy of your driving record, relevant court documents, and possibly character references or letters of recommendation. This is where the guidance and expertise of seasoned DWI attorneys becomes effective.
Speak to a Skilled Attorney at John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, a diversion program can offer a potential path toward resolution. You have a chance to address your actions responsibly and avoid some of the more severe consequences of such a conviction. Remember, eligibility varies based on individual circumstances and local jurisdiction laws, among other factors.
Should you find yourself in such a situation, enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney at John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. With our assistance, you may be able to gain access to a diversion program that can significantly increase your chances of avoiding a criminal record. Call (318) 377-1555 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today.