DUI First Time Offender Program

The Palm Beach County DUI Offender Program might be available after a first-time and non-aggravated DUI arrest. Many people are not eligible for the DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County because of their prior criminal record, a prior alcohol or drug-related driving arrest, or because of a crash resulting in property damage.

You should act quickly after the arrest to retain an experienced DUI defense attorney in West Palm Beach, FL, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. For any DUI case in Palm Beach County, you have two cases pending against you.

  • First, you only have ten (10) days to request a formal review hearing to protect your driver's license during a hearing at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR).
  • Second, if you wish to enter the diversion program, then you must enter a plea to reckless driving at arraignment.

Depending on whether you submitted to chemical testing or refused, and whether your breath or blood alcohol level was over or under .15, you will be required to complete the Tier I or Tier II requirements of the program.

If you successfully complete the DUI diversion program, then the court will withhold adjudication on the charge of reckless driving. After you enter the plea to reckless driving, you will be placed on probation for twelve (12) months to complete all the terms and conditions. If you complete the program and have no prior convictions, then you can petition the court to have your record sealed.

If you violate the probation, the court will revoke your probation, adjudicate you guilty of the underlying offense, and sentence you to up to 90 days in the Palm Beach County Jail.

Attorney for DUI Diversion in Palm Beach County, FL

After the arrest of Tiger Woods in 2017, State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that the diversion program for first time DUI offenders in Palm Beach County is among the strictest in the state with harsh penalties. If you were arrested for DUI, call us to find out more about the pros and cons of entering a diversion program.

If you were arrested for a first time DUI in Palm Beach County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. with offices in West Palm Beach, FL. We can help you understand the program and the best way to quickly complete all of the conditions without a violation.

The DUI defense attorneys in West Palm Beach, FL, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represent clients throughout Palm Beach County including the City of West Palm Beach, City of Delray Beach, City of Lake Worth, City of Riviera Beach, Village of Palm Springs, Town of Jupiter, City of Palm Beach Gardens, Town of Lantana, City of Greenacres, Town of Lake Park, Village of Royal Palm Beach, Village of Wellington, Village of North Palm Beach, City of Belle Glade, Town of Mangonia Park, and the Village of Tequesta.

If you are considering diversion, call us within 10 days of your arrest. We can represent you at the arraignment at the Gun Club Courthouse, the North County Courthouse, the South County Courthouse or the Belle Glade Courthouse.

Call us at (561) 283-3259 today.


Eligibility Requirements for DUI Diversion in Palm Beach County

The DUI diversion program was created in 2013 in Palm Beach County. The program is the only one of its kind endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). During the four years after the program was launched, more than 2,500 first-time offenders have graduated from the program.

In order to meet the eligibility requirements of the DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County, FL, the following requirements must be met:

  • you were not charged with DUI with property damage involving a crash;
  • no minor children or pets were found in your vehicle;
  • you have no prior DUI related driving offenses in your past;
  • you have never completed any diversion program as an adult (specifically excluding entry into any Juvenile Diversion Program);
  • you had a valid driver's license at the time of the arrest;
  • you have no prior criminal convictions that resulted in a prison sentence;
  • you were not also charged with any felony drug possession or controlled substance paraphernalia charge.

Two Tiers to the DUI Diversion Program

If you were arrested for a first DUI arrest, it is important to find out more about the DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County. The DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County has two tiers.

  • Tier 1 is reserved for a person accused of a first DUI who submitted to a breath or blood test with a reading between .08 and .15.
  • Tier 2 is reserved for a person accused of a first DUI who submitted to a breath or blood test with a reading between .15 and .20 or who refused to submit to testing.

If you successfully complete the program, you will be permitted to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of Reckless Driving with a requirement that you will be placed on twelve (12) months probation.

You must make a decision about entering the DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County before your arraignment. You can enter the program at any of the courthouses located in West Palm Beach or in the satellite courthouses in Gun Club, South County or North County.


Enhanced Sanctions in the DUI Diversion Program

To enter the DUI diversion program in Palm Beach County, you must sign a contract agreeing to the special terms and conditions. You must agree to the following:

  • pay the required fine and court fees which include a $250 fine for Tier 1 and a $500 fine for Tier 2;
  • submit to an alcohol monitoring device or a 3-month period if you are in Tier 1 or a 6-month period if you are in Tier 2 (the alcohol monitoring devices can include either an ignition interlock device, SCRAM monitor; or visual alcohol monitor);
  • perform community service hours at a court-approved location including 50 hours in Tier 1 or 75 hours in Tier 2;
  • complete Level I DUI School within the first four months of the program;
  • complete a substance abuse evaluation within the first two months of the program;
  • complete a one-hour Victim Impact Panel Class;
  • immobilize your vehicle for 10 days; and
  • submit to random urine tests.

Additionally, during the time you are being supervised, you must not possess or consume any alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs without a prescription for the 12-month duration of the program.


Tier I for a Blood Alcohol Level Below .15

In the Tier I program, the defendant will enter a plea to reckless driving and a Nolle Prosequi will be entered for the DUI case upon entry into Diversion Program. The court will place the defendant on 12-month probation with a withhold of adjudication to complete the following special conditions:

  • Complete Level DUI School within the first (4) months of the program;
  • Complete a substance abuse evaluation conducted by the DUI School within two (2) months;
  • Complete any recommended treatment;
  • Refrain from possessing any alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs without a valid prescription;
  • Submit to random urinalysis testing at own expense;
  • Perform fifty (50) hours of community service;
  • Attend one (1) victim impact panel class;
  • Immobilize your vehicle for ten (10) consecutive days;
  • Install an alcohol monitoring device for three (3) months; and 
  • Pay $250 fine & court costs within six (6) months.

Tier II for a BAL of .150 -.200 or Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test

In the Tier II program, the defendant will enter a plea to reckless driving and a Nolle Prosequi will be entered for the DUI case upon entry into Diversion Program. The court will place the defendant on 12-month probation with a withhold of adjudication to complete the following special conditions:

  • Complete Level II DUI School within four (4) months;
  • Complete substance abuse evaluation within two (2) months;
  • Successfully complete any recommended treatment;
  • Refrain from possessing or consuming any alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs without a valid prescription;
  • Submit to random urinalysis testing at own expense; 
  • Perform 75 hours of community service;
  • Complete a live Victim Impact Panel Class or the online class called “You Impact”;
  • Immobilize your vehicle for ten (10) consecutive days; 
  • Install an alcohol monitoring device for six (6) months; 
  • Pay $250 fine and $250 to Palm Beach County Victim Services; and
  • Pay court costs within 6 months of entering the program.

Additional Resources

Pre-Trial DUI Diversion in Palm Beach County - Visit the website of the State Attorney’s Office for the Fifteenth (15th) Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, FL. Learn more about the downtown State Attorney's Office in West Palm Beach and the satellite offices in Belle Glade, North County, South County and on Gun Club Road. The website provides information on the DUI intake functions performed by prosecutors given the task of reviewing more than 4,000 cases each year to determine how they will be prosecuted in county court. The diversion program improves the working relationship between the State Attorney's Office and the criminal defense bar by creating clear criteria for determining the defendant's candidacy for diversion.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

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