The state of Kentucky prosecutes thousands of drunk driving offenders each year. In an attempt to give drunk driving offenders a second chance while also recognizing that drunk driving is not a victimless crime and DUI offenders have a responsibility not only to themselves but also other drivers and the community, the state of Kentucky offers a pretrial diversion program.
Drivers who successfully complete the Kentucky diversion program may be able to avoid being charged with drunk driving, and the state avoids the high cost of prosecuting DUI cases. Victims and the community also can benefit as the offenders perform community service and receive alcohol education, DUI treatment and counseling.
Who qualifies for the Kentucky Diversion Program?
Drunk driving offenders must have the consent of the county attorney and the district judge to participate in the Kentucky diversion program. They also must meet the following eligibility criteria.
- Must be over the age of 18 at the time of the drunk driving offense
- No prior diversions for any felony or misdemeanor charges
- Must be a legal resident of the United States
- Cannot have a prior drunk driving conviction
- They must not have had any aggravating factors in their DUI arrest
- Their blood alcohol content level must have been under 0.15%
- Must be in good physical condition and be able to perform community service activities: lifting, bending, picking up trash, etc.
- Must pay the required fee of $300
- Must enter the Kentucky diversion program within 45 days
Who does not qualify for the Kentucky Diversion Program?
As mentioned above, not all drivers will qualify for this program. Who does not qualify?
- Any driver under the age of 18 at the time of their Kentucky drunk driving arrest
- Drivers with previous criminal convictions (excluding minor traffic violations)
- Drivers who had a blood alcohol content higher than 0.15%
- Drivers who had aggravating factors in their drunk driving arrest
- Non-legal residents of the United States
- Drivers with felony convictions
- Drivers with a history of psychotic mental health conditions
- Drivers who have caused an accident or injury to property or another person with expenses of more than $1,000
Drivers who are interested in the diversion program can talk to their county attorney’s office. Most screenings for the diversion program are done within a few weeks of the driver’s arraignment. Drivers who do not want to participate in the program will be prosecuted as usual which means they can either plead guilty to the charges or hire a drunk driving lawyer and fight the charges.
Drivers who enter the diversion program must surrender their driver’s license, plead guilty to the drunk driving charge and sign the diversion agreement forms. Drivers who do not complete the program or who are charged with additional crimes will have their case returned to DUI court for sentencing and the diversion agreement is formally ended.
Penalties which can be imposed upon termination include a $500 fine, a $375 service fee, court costs, an alcohol education program, 120-day operator’s license suspension and 30 days in jail.
Completing the Kentucky Diversion program
Drivers who complete the program will have their drunk driving case dismissed with a stipulation of probable cause and an understanding that the DUI dismissal will not be expunged from their driving record for at least two years from the date of the dismissal.
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