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In some jurisdictions, first-time or less-serious DUI offenses may be eligible for DUI diversion programs. How do these programs work?
In a typical DUI diversion program, the defendant is required to meet certain specified conditions, like completing classes or performing community service. Once the conditions are met, the prosecutor or judge typically dismisses the DUI charge.
DUI diversion programs are offered because prosecutors and courts realize that sometimes a DUI is a mistake. Diversion allows the defendant to rehabilitate himself and demonstrate that he is capable of behaving responsibly.
A Guilty Plea May Be Required
Most often, only first-time DUI offenders and drunken drivers who don't cause injury or property damage may be eligible for DUI diversion programs. Each state has different rules (and possibly different names) for their programs.
For example, states commonly require that the defendant first plead guilty to the DUI; other states may allow deferred adjudication, meaning that they will only go after the defendant if he cannot successfully complete the program.
How a Suspended Sentence Works
A suspended sentence is probably the most common form of DUI diversion program. Here's what a suspended sentence generally involves: