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Florida DUI and Alcohol Treatment or Diversion Programs

Updated on April 7, 2011

If We Only Knew

Choices With Consequences

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, although your choices may seem somewhat limited make sure you're aware of the different alcohol/drug treatment programs the laws allow opposed to just jumping into the diversion program. All to often decisions are made without knowing all the facts and the choices available, resulting in consequences that could have been avoided.
Most Florida attorneys who specialize in criminal defense and DUI’s are very knowledgeable yet sometimes don’t divulge all the options.

Diversion Programs

In many states there are numerous counties that offer diversion programs and each state has there own curriculum and requirements for completion.
Some of them actually let you choose from several different treatment facilities and programs which I think is outstanding considering the individual is the one who probably knows what will work for them. This also can allow insurance and work programs to cover some of the enormous cost associated with these programs. This really shows concern for the individual opposed to a government regulated program that is totally unrealistic for the client yet often their only option. I think this is not only a grave injustice to so many that need and want treatment so desperately I don’t even want to get started on the subject
Some of the programs require up to 4 trips per week to the courthouse for testing/class, 4 AA meetings per week, 2 court dates per month, 1 counseling session per month, 1 probation visit per month, another court required program of 30 hours to be completed within the first 6 months, a minimum of $180 a month, along with other meetings or evaluations to be completed. This is all to be completed when most don’t even have a drivers license.

Here are some of my issues with this structure:
1) If you consider the time allotted for each visit to be a minimal of 2 hours of travel and meeting/test time that averages to 18 to 20 hours per week.
If you add that to someone whose drive and travel time for work is 45 hours it really can become a hardship on you and your family
2) Although I think the alternative being jail doesn’t leave them any choice the programs that have been put into place don’t advertise or brag about their completion percentage and return offenses. One cant help but wonder why or what the reasoning behind that is, and who is maintaining the stats
3)The fact is the required structured programs are often just a spin off of those already in place, just more intense.

Although taking all this into consideration, the alternative of spending 6 to 12 months in jail doesn't leave much for deliberation as to your decision.

From Celebration to Devastation

Facts to Consider With Numbers That Will Make You Cringe

1) 1,500,000 people are arrested for driving drunk/under the influence every year.
2) 500,000 of those are convicted for repeat offenses
3) 50% will be arrested for a second offense
4) 80% of second offenders will be arrested as a multiple offender
5) In 2009 468 people died in fatal crashes on New Years Day 40% was due to impaired drivers
6) Of the children that died 14 years old and younger killed in car crashes in 2009 14% was due to alcohol
7) One persons dies every 48 minutes due to alcohol related crashes in the US
8) Some of the programs are run and counseled by those who have no idea of what it’s like to be a recovering alcoholic or how to resolve and find the problem which is causing a grave disturbance leading to the alcohol/drug problem.
9) The counselors concerns seem to be more focused on monetary and test results than actual finding the underlying problem and help working through it

Ok I think that’s more than enough to get my point across. The fact is that most people in business having a 50 to 80% failure rate would get out of that business.
I said it in another article and I’ll say it again the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result

Take Some Time To Know You

So What's The Alternative

Finding a program or treatment facility that fits what that individuals needs are. Different people need different things sometimes when it comes to treatment. Trying to imply that AA or another form of treatment is the only alternative when making a treatment plan is unrealistic and not in the best interest of the person needing treatment.

There are millions of people in the US alone staying sober using a multitude of different solutions which works great for them. There are those that need extensive one on one counseling to help work through guilt or a history of unspeakable abuse and trauma. Those who have found a faith in GOD and have forgiven themselves and others, and some who need no more than to find alternatives such as meditation, martial arts, art, or writing to be able to release some of the emotions they have kept buried for so long. Then there are others who need the strength and support of AA along with the social replacement of hanging out in bars, partying with friends, etc, to maintain their sobriety.

Those of you that have read any of my hubs or articles know that I do not like labels. I think they tend to classify people into a group that suffer from the same problem, or disease, (I’m talking mental health not physical) and need the exact same treatment or medications. When in reality we are all so different and have experienced and deal with things on different levels. Yes the one common problem may be alcohol or drugs but the treatment needs to find the cause, not just I’m an alcoholic or an addict as the reason behind the action. IF NOT then it just becomes an excuse.

Finding what works for you is not an easy task but the benefits can change your life in ways you never thought possible. When I was younger I never realized or thought deeply about what was really important in my life (and been honest about it). Most of the time we all spout off the usual family, money, work, making more money, faith, etc., but when you really work on yourself and figure out what you are all about (can’t help but think of the movie Runaway Bride and eggs) you realize your probably not the person you wanted to be. The great thing about it is that having the ability to change that is like a miracle.

Make sure you can afford, have transportation to and from, the time to commit, and are willing to make the effort when going into a program. Once you’ve started, trying to switch things around is not an alternative that will normally be considered, leaving consequences to pay.

So take some time to look into the different programs available, most of the time that will require an attorney who specializes in this field, so be careful when choosing both.

So Good Luck and Try to Keep It Simple (Remember I said try) and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself Everything Happens For A Reason


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    • Charlu profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Most state prisons offer all kinds of educational and drug treatment, but most county and private jails don't or the ones there are limited or useless. The problem is the county jails are where all the first and 2nd offenders are usually. If there doing state time they' usually had an accident or there was a fatality. Now tell me how that makes sense!

    • JAILTALK profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      Good points, it is true, alcohol and drugs are just common problems. -Probably not the root reason which few treatments really take the time to delve into.

      I don't like one size fits all labels either and would like to change laws and penalties to actually help people, not just fill up our jails to get more federal money to look good!


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