Hillsborough County’s RIDR Program: Our Guide

Hillsborough County is regularly ranked amongst the worst in the state of Florida for DUI arrests and crashes. In response, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren announced in 2018 the “Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism” diversion program, otherwise known as the RIDR Program. 

 

First-time DUI offenders may find the RIDR Program helpful. If you have no additional criminal or arrest records, you may discover significantly lesser charges as well as more savings. While this program requires more commitment, it may allow the dismissal of the criminal record. At Stechschulte Nell, we specialize in DUI defense and can help you through this process. 

 

How Does the RIDR Program Work? 

The program aims to resolve DUI charges as the lesser charge of Reckless Driving if several conditions are met.  

 

Am I Eligible for RIDR? 

To qualify for this diversion program, you must meet certain conditions, including: 

 

  • The DUI must be a misdemeanor 
  • No minor was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI 
  • Blood alcohol level (BAC) was less than .20 
  • No prior alcohol-related driving offenses (DUI, reckless driving, DUI diversion program, or more than one non-DUI diversion program as an adult) 
  • No prior Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) with serious bodily injury or death, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death, vehicular homicide, or the participation in a Pre-Trial Intervention program or probation  

 

The State Attorney’s Office (SAO) evaluates all cases on an individual basis, and cases may be determined on relevant factors not mentioned above. 

 

What Happens Once I’m in the RIDR Program? 

 

The SAO will assign you a level based on your BAC or refusal at the time of your arrest. They are determined as follows: 

 

  • Level 1 – BAC is .15 or below 
  • Level 2 – BAC is above .15, or no breath sample was given  
  • Level 3 – Drug-related DUI 

 

You must waive your right to a speedy trial if you are attempting the DUI diversion program at your arraignment. A disposition date will then be set in about 60 days. During this time, you must complete a list of Pre-Plea Sanctions to be submitted to the SAO before your scheduled deposition. However, if you hire an attorney, you will not need to attend the arraignment. Stechschulte Nell will take care of enrolling you in the program. 

 

Under the Pre-Plea Sanctions, you must: 

 

  • Stay crime-free for the probationary 60 days 
  • Complete DUI School  
  • Begin recommended treatment 
  • Attend MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Panel 
  • Complete 10 or more hours of community service 

 

Level 1 and Level 2 Offenders: 

 

In addition to the Pre-Plea Sanctions above, you must also provide proof of an ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device or a continuous alcohol monitoring device 

 

Level 3 Offenders: 

 

In addition to the above Pre-Plea Sanctions, you must also not have or use alcohol, illegal drugs, or drugs that your doctor did not prescribe. Additionally, you will need to use a drug monitoring patch with results going to the SAO.  

 

How Does the Plea Offer Work? 

 

You will be offered a plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving, and you will receive a withhold of adjudication. The RIDR Program includes 12 months of probation plus court costs. Further sanctions include: 

 

Level 1 – Fifty hours of community service and the installation of the ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device for three additional months 

 

Level 2 – Seventy-five hours of community service and the installation of the ignition interlock alcohol monitoring device for six additional months 

 

Level 3 – Fifty hours of community service plus wearing a drug abuse patch for three months with results going to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO.) 

 

How Stechschulte Nell Can Help 

 

Retaining a DUI defense attorney will provide you with numerous benefits. Admission to RIDR Program is regulated solely by the state attorney; Stechschulte Nell can assess your case to put you in the most excellent position possible for entry.  

 

Hiring Stechschulte Nell can save you money overall by avoiding or minimizing most costs. First-time DUI fines and costs can top $10,000. Costs include: 

 

 

We can help keep all your penalties to a minimum and avoid future license suspensions and extra costs from late payments. Contact Stechschulte Nell today if you are considering the RIDR Program. 

 

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