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Alabama DUI Bill Aims at Pre-trial Diversion Program Fee Loophole

Alabama's DUI statute provides for various fines and fees for those convicted of DUI in Alabama.  $100 out of an Alabama DUI fine goes to the Alabama Head and Spinal Cord Injury Trust fund (AHSCIF) .  However, existing law does not provide for collecting this $100 when a person complete an Alabama DUI pre-trial diversion program or deferred prosecution program.  Alabama House Bill 14, introduced by Representative Pettus in the Alabama Legislature seeks to change that by providing for collecting a $100 fee for the AHSCIF in DUI diversion cases. For now, HB 14 remains in the Alabama House, and its future is unclear.

A lot of court in Alabama have pre-trial diversion programs, but some do not.  The advantage of a pre-trial diversion program for a person charged with DUI in Alabama, is that, generally speaking, the DUI charge is dropped upon successfully completing the program. The diversion program typically requires the payment of court cost and certain fees. Alabama House Bill 14 would add another $100 fee on top of what is already charged.  The downside of pretrial diversion programs is that they can be expensive, time consuming, and if not successfully completed, may leave the person in a worse predicament than they were prior to entering the program.

Generally speaking, a person is not automatically eligible for a pretrial diversion program.  The jurisdictions that have pretrial diversion programs usually have a list of things that would automatically disqualify a person from participating., such as a prior DUI arrest or conviction or prior participation in a diversion program.  Often a person is automatically disqualified if they had a blood alcohol level over a certain amount or refused to provide a breath test.

In addition to factors that would automatically disqualify a person from a pre-trial diversion program, typically both the prosecutor and the judge must also agree to allow the person to participate in the program.

At the time of this post, various jurisdiction in North Alabama have DUI diversion programs, these include but are not limited to Madison County, Huntsville Municipal Court, Limestone County, Morgan County, Decatur Municipal Court, Marshall County, Arab Municipal Court, and Guntersville Municipal Court.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Alabama and you are curious about whether you might be a candidate for a DUI diversion program or the risks and benefits of such a program, you should contact a DUI defense attorney who is familiar with your jurisdiction for additional information.

If you have any questions about DUI defense and pretrial diversion programs, you are welcome to call or message Alabama DUI defense attorney Frank Ward using the button below.