Diversion Programs: The Silver Lining In Your Drunk Or Drugged Driving Arrest

Could getting arrested for drunk driving actually be something positive?

If you're sitting in a jail cell under arrest for drunk or drugged driving, you probably don't think so right at the moment. However, you may need to consider the following information before you decide how to proceed.

Drunk or Drugged Driving Is Expensive to Society

There's no question that drunk or drugged driving is expensive to everyone on the road -- there are costs associated with property damage from accidents, costs associated with jailing and trying offenders and costs associated with educational programs designed to prevent driving under the influence (DUI). However, the worst cost is to the people involved:

  • The odds are very high that this isn't the first time that you've driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Statistically, drunk drivers will get behind the wheel 80 times before they end up arrested on a DUI charge.
  • If you were arrested before you caused an accident or everyone walked away from an accident you caused, you can count yourself very lucky -- slightly more than 1 person an hour dies in a drunk driving accident. 
  • Total, you can expect 28 people a day to end up in the morgue instead of their own beds at the end of each day due to intoxicated or "under the influence" drivers.

Why is this all important to know? Because it's important to focus on the fact that your arrest is a great alternative to dying in an accident due to drugs or alcohol. Even better, the fact that you've survived this far means that you now have a chance to take advantage of programs that could help you stop drinking and driving for good.

DUI Diversion Programs Could Be the Key You Need

If this is your first time being caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you stand a very good chance of being able to convince the judge to send you to a diversion program instead of jail. In some states, depending on your case, you may even be able to avoid having a conviction on your record -- as long as you successfully complete the program.

Because the exact provisions for a diversion program vary widely from state to state, it's important to talk to your attorney to see if you qualify and what you have to agree to in order to be admitted. You may need to plead guilty (even if the charges will be later dropped) or you may be able to make a "no contest" plea that allows you to accept the sentence without admitting guilt. 

Regardless of the rules, a diversion program can offer you numerous benefits:

  • You may be eligible for a state-funded detox program if you are physically addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • You will likely have to take substance abuse counseling. Most substance abusers use drugs or alcohol to avoid dealing with other painful emotional issues -- this is your chance to work through those things.
  • If your drug or alcohol use has cost you custody or visitation of your children, you may be able to use this as a starting point to gain back limited visitation.
  • You may be obligated to use an ignition interlock device for a while -- which can help you avoid temptation.
  • Regular drug or alcohol testing can also force you to comply and keep looking for healthier coping mechanisms.

While it's hard to see an arrest as a positive thing, it could be exactly what you need to keep you from sliding deeper into a hole created by your addiction -- and it may keep you out of an early grave. For more information on how you can try to get into a diversion program instead of landing in jail, talk to a DUI defense lawyer today.