What is the Back on Track Program?
By Jonathan Blecher on May 28, 2015
If you were recently arrested for your first DUI in Miami-Dade County, you might be interested to learn about the Back on Track program. What is it, and what does it have to do with you?
The Back on Track Program is a DUI diversion program for individuals who were arrested for driving under the influence. Getting into the program is not automatic, and it is up to the State Attorney’s Office to determine who meets the eligibility requirements for the program. The program is operated by two not-for-profit organizations, the Advocate Program and Court Options.
If you are eligible for the program and you accept, you’ll be required to complete a variety of conditions, and in return, you DUI charge would be reduced to a lesser charge, or dropped altogether. Assuming of-course that you complete all of the conditions successfully.
What are the Advocate Program and Court Options?
The Advocate Program and Court Options are private organizations that offer a comprehensive array of court-related services. Both have developed numerous programs with the State’s Attorney’s Office for the benefit of first time offenders, including the Back on Track program.
The Back on Track program is a DUI “diversion” program; a Pretrial Diversion Program (PTD) is a program offered by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. The State Attorney’s may offer a PTD to an individual who has no significant history of criminal arrests in Miami-Dade County.
To participate in the Back on Track Program, you can 1) be referred when your case is set for court, or 2) you may receive a Letter of Eligibility from Advocate or Court Options, letting you know that you meet the criteria for enrollment.
A diversion program may be a favorable alternative to a criminal conviction, and helps the offender make changes in their life so they can avoid a subsequent DUI conviction.
Participation in the Back on Track program is strictly voluntary, and in some rare cases offenders begin the program before they even have a court appearance.
To qualify for Back on Track, you must meet the following criteria:
- This must be your first DUI or alcohol-related offense
- You must not have caused property damage, bodily injuries, or death
- No children were in the vehicle at the time of arrest
- The authorities did not find any open containers of alcohol
- You cannot have any prior felony convictions
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.25%
Generally with Back on Track, the participant is supervised for a period of 6 to 9 months depending on the seriousness of the DUI offense. Once they successfully complete the program, the state reduces the DUI charges to Reckless Driving, withholding adjudication of guilt and allowing the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction and a criminal record.
Common conditions include community service; alcohol and/or substance abuse evaluation and if recommended, treatment; AA meetings, and; random drug and alcohol testing and an ignition interlock device.