Pretrial Program for DUI in the 12th Judicial Circuit, FL

If you have been arrested for DUI in Sarasota, Manatee, or Desoto Counties, you might be eligible to participate in the DETER program. Short for “Driver Enhanced Treatment Education Rehabilitation,” (DETER), this program offers applicants the chance to avoid a DUI conviction in exchange for taking steps that are likely to reduce the chances they drive while impaired again.

Of course, not every person is eligible for this program. Some individuals might also benefit from not participating and, instead, fighting the charges against them. This can be a difficult decision, making your choice of defense attorney imperative.

Who Is Eligible for DETER?

There are limits on who qualifies for the DETER program. The program is intended for first-time offenders who are not facing serious charges. These limits include:

  • No felony DUI convictions
  • No aggravating factors like causing an accident or having a minor in the vehicle
  • No pending license suspensions or serious driving charges
  • No prior DUI convictions

How Does DETER Work?

If a person is accepted into DETER, they will be given a new court date in the DUI case approximately 60 days out. During that time, the individual must meet certain conditions by the State Attorney’s Office.

If they meet requirements, the case is continued for 12 months. After that period is over, the State Attorney’s Office will ensure the applicant has met all the requirements, paid all the costs, and avoided additional criminal charges. The judge will then dismiss the case instead of entering a guilty plea.

Downsides of DETER

This program makes a lot of sense for some people, but not everyone. One of the critical downsides to understand is that the financial cost of DETER is higher than what is typically involved in a DUI case. What’s more, DETER still requires a guilty plea to a DUI charge. That means waiving the right to take the case to trial or appeal the case.

Discuss DETER With an Attorney

Pretrial diversion programs can benefit many — but not all — people facing DUI charges. However, there are times when it is in your best interest to forego these diversion programs and exercise your rights in court. This is especially true if you are likely to earn an acquittal based on the evidence against you.

Before entering the DETER program, let the Law Office of John P Rutkowski help. Our firm can help you weigh your legal options and advise you on potential outcomes. Reach out right away to learn more.

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