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D.R.O.P. DUI Diversion in Pinellas County

Did you know that the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County, FL, just announced the creation of the new DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program, called “D.R.O.P.”? The diversion program allows for the rapid resolution of some first-time DUI offenses that occurred on or after June 1, 2021.

In Pinellas County, DUI cases are prosecuted at the Pinellas County Justice Center located at 14250 49th St N in Clearwater, FL.

Keep in mind that the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County, FL, reserves the ability to evaluate each case on an individual, fact-specific basis, even when the person otherwise meets all of the eligibility criteria. 

To participate in the new DUI diversion program called “D.R.O.P.,” an application must be submitted along with a non-refundable $50 application fee. The application must be received by the prosecution by the State Attorney’s Office prior to the second pretrial hearing.

The eligibility requirements to enter the D.R.O.P. program include performing the following three pre-conditions:

  • Complete twenty (20) community service hours;
  • Complete DUI School; and
  • Complete the M.A.D.D. Victim Impact Panel.

Any conditions that you complete prior to entering the plea will be credited towards the special conditions imposed by the court as part of probation.

In exchange for successfully completing the pre-plea conditions and being accepted into D.R.O.P., the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office will agree to the following resolution of the criminal case:

  • in exchange for a “guilty” plea, the case will be reduced from DUI to Reckless Driving under Florida Statute Section 316.192(5);
    • with a withhold of adjudication for a Tier 1 offense;
    • with an adjudication of guilt for a Tier 2 offense; and
  • 12 months probation to complete the special conditions required for either Tier I or Tier II as discussed below.

The plea resolution must be entered before any demand for a speedy trial is filed or before any motions are filed in the case, and before any depositions are taken in the case.

Attorney on DROP DUI Diversion in Pinellas County, FL

If you were arrested for a first DUI offense in Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on DUI defense.

We can help you demand a formal review hearing within ten (10) days of your arrest, which is the only way to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

Because the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm focus on DUI defense in Pinellas County, FL, we are familiar with the requirement of the new DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (D.R.O.P.).

During a free consultation, we can discuss the pros and cons of entering the program, the eligibility requirements, and the best ways to complete all of the conditions so that the case can be resolved on the best possible terms.

The main office of Sammis Law Firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Our office is located at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820. 

Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers for traffic crimes in Pinellas County, FL.

Call 727-210-7004. 


DUI Cases Not Eligible for D.R.O.P. Diversion in Pinellas

Some types of cases will not be eligible for the new D.R.O.P. diversion program in Pinellas County, FL, including cases that involve:

  • a breath or blood sample reading over 0.150 B.A.C. (even if the defense attorney can show a lower B.A.C. at the time of driving through extrapolation);
  • a crash with bodily injury or significant property damage;
  • minor children in the Defendant’s vehicle at the time of the DUI offense;
  • not having a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense;
  • holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL);
  • having accompanying or pending felony charges;
  • being on any form of supervision (including probation or another diversion program);
  • having previously committed a similar offense; or
  • having previously participated in a prior traffic-related diversion program.

Keep in mind that the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County, FL, reserves the ability to evaluate each case on an individual, fact-specific basis, even when the person otherwise meets all of the eligibility criteria.

In other words, the defendant’s eligibility is determined at the sole discretion of the State Attorney.

If you are found to NOT be eligible for some reason, your criminal defense attorney can contact the prosecutor to present any mitigation and ask for reconsideration. The State Attorney’s Office has wide latitude to accept or reject cases in DROP.

Even if you are not eligible for DROP, your attorney might still be able to negotiate a similar resolution in court (even though the case is not formally part of the DROP program.


DROP Tier One for BAC of 0.120 or Below or Drug DUI

The tier one sanctions apply when the DUI involves a BAC of 0.120 or below or an accusation of drug impairment. The special conditions in those cases include:

  • six (6) months probation;
  • fines and fees;
  • fifty (50) community service hours;
  • ten (10) day vehicle immobilization;
  • no consumption of alcohol/illegal drugs/non-prescribed drugs and no bars, clubs, or establishments where alcoholic beverages are primarily served while on probation; and
  • mandatory random alcohol/drug testing at Defendant’s expense.

DROP Tier Two for BAC of .120 -0.150 or Refusal

The tier two sanctions apply when the DUI involves a BAC Between 0.120 and 0.150 and a breath test refusal to submit to testing. The special conditions in those cases include:

  • nine (9) months probation – fines and fees – fifty (50) community service hours;
  • ten (10) day vehicle immobilization;
  • no consumption of alcohol/illegal drugs/non-prescribed drugs and no bars, clubs, or establishments where alcoholic beverages are primarily served; and
  • mandatory random alcohol/drug testing at Defendant’s expense.

What is a DUI Diversion Program?

What is a diversion program? A diversion program involves “diverting” a case away from the court system in exchange for a person completing certain tasks like getting counseling or performing community service.

After the special conditions are completed and the person stays out of trouble for a period of time, the case is closed, the charges are dropped completely, or the charges are reduced to a less serious offense.

In March of 2018, the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County created a diversion program for a first DUI case called RIDR. Completing RIDR does not result in the charges being dismissed, but it does result in the DUI being reduced to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication.

The withhold means that the case might be eligible to be sealed. Click here to learn more about the DUI RIDR Diversion program in Hillsborough County, FL.

Although Pinellas County doesn’t have a formal diversion program for any DUI arrest prior to June 1, 2021, the prosecutors often drop DUI charges to reckless driving if they are worried about getting a “not guilty” verdict at trial.

In some cases, the prosecutor might decide to drop the DUI charges entirely, especially if the criminal defense attorney has filed a viable motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress or exclude evidence.


Other Types of Diversion Programs in Pinellas County, FL

Depending on the program, diversion might be offered on a pre-arrest basis or post-arrest basis. Other diversion programs in Pinellas County, FL, include:

  • Misdemeanor Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program –
    • After an arrest or the issuance of a “notice to appear” in court for certain types of misdemeanors, a person might be eligible to enter a diversion program to get the charges dismissed.
    • The program allows low-level offenses to complete sanctions on a voluntary basis such as community service, treatment, and fines in exchange for getting charges dropped.
    • The types of misdemeanor charges that might be eligible for PTI include:
      • Obstructing or Resisting Arrest or Obstructing an Officer without Violence
      • Disorderly Conduct
      • Solicitation for Prostitution
      • Exposure of Sexual Organs
      • Lewd or Lascivious Conduct
      • Worthless Checks,
      • Theft of Utilities
      • Unlicensed Contracting
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) –
    • DVIP must pay a fee and complete class for anger management or batterer’s intervention.
  • Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion (APAD) –
    • Many types of misdemeanor offenses are eligible for the APAD diversion program which helps the person avoid being arrested at all for charges that might include possession of marijuana, petit theft, criminal mischief, or battery.
  • Bad Check Checks Diversion Program (BCDP) –
    • Available for cases involving passing a bad or worthless check or a check on an account closed or with insufficient funds.
  • Felony Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program –
    • Many third-degree felonies that are not traffic-related are eligible for Felony PTI which results in the dismissal of the charges although felony DUI cases such as a third or four DUI, DUI with serious bodily injury, or DUI manslaughter would not be eligible.
  • Felony Drug Court Program –
    • After an arrest for a drug charge, felony drug court allows a person to seek drug treatment so that the charges can be dropped.
  • Juvenile Diversion –
    • The Sixth Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Diversion programs provide second chances for at-risk youths who have not previously been in the criminal justice system including Teen Court, Juvenile Drug Court, STOP (Service & Treatment for Offender Prevention), Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program (JAAP), and Juvenile Arbitration.

Additional Resources

D.R.O.P. Pinellas First DUI Diversion Program Flyer – Visit the website of the State Attorney Bruce Bartlett in the Sixth Judicial Circuit to find out more about diversion programs in Pinellas County, FL, including the DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (D.R.O.P.).

Drop Program in Pinellas County, FL – Visit the website of the Sixth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office to learn more about the voluntary DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program called “D.R.O.P.” and find DROP community service partners. The diversion program requires completion of the statutory minimum mandatory DUI sanctions. The article discusses the eligibility criteria and explains how to apply to either of the two tiers of the program. The article also provides links to downloadable forms including the DROP Application, the Statement of Prior Record, the Written Plea of Not Guilty and Waiver of Speedy Trial. Directions for DROP in Pinellas County can be directed to Ben Kanoski at 727.464.6786 or Amelia Hummel at 727.464.6786 or by sending an email to DiversionPinellas@flsa6.gov.


This article was last updated on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

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