You have been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). You’re not alone. Hillsborough County has been ranked near the worst in the state for DUI–related crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Started in March 2018, this DUI diversion program in Tampa, FL, is aimed at reducing impaired driving through enhanced sanctions to help prevent future drunk driving. After an arrest for a first-time DUI, you may be eligible for the DUI diversion initiative in Hillsborough County called Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (“RIDR”).

About 20% of DUI cases to be eligible for this diversion program. Your DUI attorney at Stechschulte Nell can tell you if you are eligible to participate in the RIDR program. Keep reading to learn more about this program for first DUI arrests.

About the RIDR Initiative

RIDR was intended to aggressively target and reduce drunk driving by imposing enhanced penalties on individuals accused of a first-time, non-aggravated DUI offense.

The program also seeks to eliminate the incentive for people to refuse the breathalyzer during the investigation. Though one of the key issues of the RIDR diversion initiative is anyone who has a recorded BAC of .20 or higher is not eligible.

For a first-time offender, this diversion program may be your best option to avoid a DUI conviction and potentially your seal your DUI arrest from potential employers and background checks. There are pros and cons of entering the RIDR program and it’s important that you speak with a DUI lawyer about the specifics of your case.

How to Qualify for RIDR

Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191, you have the right to be brought to trial within 90 days. However, if you wish to participate in the RIDR program, you must set your case for a disposition hearing approximately 60 days from arraignment. This means that you must waive your right to a speedy trial.

Prior to your disposition court date, you must complete the following:

1. Have no new law violations.

2. Provide proof to the SAO via your attorney that you have completed DUI School.

3. Attend the Victim Impact Panel and provide proof of attendance.

4. Install an ignition interlock alcohol-monitoring device or provide proof that you have a SCRAM continuous alcohol-monitoring device –all monitoring reports must be provided to the SAO one week prior to your court date.

5. Complete of 10 unpaid, community service hours. Hours must be completed after the date of offense for your charge. They also must be turned in on the agency’s letterhead, signed by the person supervising your hours, and include the date and number of hours.

If you successfully complete ALL of these before your disposition court hearing, the Florida State Attorney’s Office will offer the RIDR diversion program as a resolution of your criminal DUI case in Hillsborough County.

After an arrest for a first, non-aggravated DUI offense, call Stechschulte Nell Law in Tampa, FL, to learn more about the benefits of entering the RIDR DUI diversion program.

Is RIDR a Plea Deal?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS SOLELY A PLEA OFFER FROM THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE- THE COURT HAS THE DISCRETION TO REJECT THE OFFER. Currently, about 20% of cases are eligible for RIDR.

The RIDR initiative requires that you to complete the typical penalties or sanctions for a first-time DUI PLUS plus it requires the installation of an ignition interlock device, continuous SCRAM monitor, or PharmCheck Drugs of Abuse Patch (if your DUI charge was drug-related). If you qualify, the State of Florida will allow you to enter a plea of no contest or guilty to the reduced charges.

By taking additional action following your DUI arrest, the State Attorney’s Office will agree to:

  • reduce DUI charge to ‘reckless driving”;
  • recommend that adjudication be withheld,
  • agree to place you on probation for a period of twelve months.

ALL CASES are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Your eligibility is determined at the sole discretion of the Office of the State Attorney for the Thirteenth 13th Judicial Circuit.

Conditions of probation may include*:

1. Standard court costs and fines.

2. Successful completion of seventy-five (75) community service hours at a location approved by probation. Note: You will be given credit at the time of sentencing for hours already completed. 3. Ten-day vehicle immobilization.

4. No possession or consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or non-prescribed drugs.

5. Ignition interlock alcohol monitoring for a period of six months or submit to SCRAM continuous alcohol monitoring for a period of six months. The six month period will run from the date of installation, not from the sentence date, if you provide an interlock or SCRAM report showing successful monitoring prior to your disposition date.

6. Successful completion of DUI School and any recommended treatment (with credit for completion prior to the date of sentence).

7. Any standard conditions of probation.

If you don’t complete these probation requirements, then your probation officer can obtain an arrest warrant for violation of probation. If the court finds that your probation violation was willful, then you may be adjudicated for the offense of reckless driving. This imposes up to the statutory maximum of 90 days in the Hillsborough County Jail.

Keep in mind: a skilled attorney can also help you get your probation terminated early and then seal/expunge your record, if eligible, after your case. Contact Attorney Ben Stechschulte at Stechschulte Nell to speak with a DUI lawyer today.

Do I Need a Defense Attorney?

Yes. Within 10 days of your arrest, you still need a criminal defense attorney to help you demand a “formal review hearing” to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

If you seek immediate reinstatement of your hardship privileges, you are essentially admitting guilt for administrative purposes -that is what remains on your driving record for the next 75 years (even if you complete the RIDR program and get your criminal record sealed).

An experienced DUI attorney can also help you decide the best way to complete the various conditions of the RIDR Program. Remember: you are responsible for completing all of the requirements and providing the proof of completion to your lawyer. You are also responsible for any costs associated for participation in DUI classes or installing the interlock system.

Don’t waive all your legal rights until you speak to an attorney about your case. Stechschulte Nell to represent you for the “formal review hearing”. Many clients have seen success with entering RIDR and winning the formal review hearing, which means the administrative suspension, disappears from your driving record. Our DUI attorney is a former Prosecutor; our legal team will work to get you’re the best outcome for your case. Call today for a free DUI case review.

Tampa Attorneys for RIDR DUI Diversion

The State Attorney’s Office (SAO) created the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (“RIDR”) initiative given the clear dangers of impaired driving in Hillsborough County. Despite its goal to promote consistency in the prosecution of Tampa DUI cases, there are still issues with the program.

To learn if RIDR is a fit for your unique situation, please contact our criminal defense attorneys. Our South Tampa law firm is available 24/7 to help you – call 813-280-1244 now.