Posts Tagged ‘anthony rubino’

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Miami-Dade “Back on Track Program” for first time DUI Offenders

What is the new “Back on Track Program” offered by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office?

The “Back on Track Program” is a program supervised by Court Options that allows some first time offenders to have their DUI charged reduced to a Withhold of Adjudication for Reckless Driving.  It is being offered by the Office of the State Attorney because too many drunk drivers who challenged their cases in court were slipping though the system and receiving no punishment.  A recent article in the Miami Herald introducing the program may be found here.

Miami-Dade “Back on Track Program” criteria for acceptance:

  • Defendant must not have alcohol-related driving history where disposition is either withhold of adjudication or a conviction.
  • Defendant may have up to one-prior, non-violent felony conviction, and up to two prior misdemeanor convictions.
  • Defendant may have completed no more than one misdemeanor diversion program and no more than one felony diversion program.
  • The defendant must not have been at fault on an accident, if one was involved as part of the incident.
  • There must not have been minor children in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • Defendants who were arrested for DUI during the period of a suspended license will be denied admission into the program. If the suspension period has expired and the defendant is eligible to obtain a license but has not done so at the time of the DUI arrest, the defendant will still be eligible to participate.

If you qualify for acceptance in the Back on Track Program then you will be classified as either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 offender:

  • Tier 1 = Blood Alcohol Level below .15
  • Tier 2 = Blood Alcohol Level at .15 and above or Refusal

The conditions associated with each Tier are as follows:

Tier 1

  • 6 – 9 months in the program
  • 10 day vehicle impound ($100)
  • Monetary donation ($300)
  • DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation ($252)
  • Treatment if required after substance abuse evaluation ($300-$500)
  • Cost of Prosecution ($50)
  • Cost of Supervision ($500)
  • Cost of Recovery to Law Enforcement (varies depending on agency)
  • Community Service (40 hours)
  • Victim Impact Class – 2 hours ($40)

Tier 2

  • 12 months in the program
  • 6 month vehicle ignition interlock ($305)
  • Monetary donation ($500)
  • DUI School and Substance Abuse Evaluation ($387)
  • Treatment if required after substance abuse evaluation ($300-$500)
  • Cost of Prosecution ($50)
  • Cost of Supervision ($650)
  • Cost of Recovery to Law Enforcement (varies depending on agency)
  • Community Service (60 hours)
  • Victim Impact Class – 2 hours ($40)

My thoughts regarding the “Back on Track Program.”

The program is an excellent option for many first time offenders who qualify for it.  For persons who complete the program they will have their DUI charge amended to a Reckless Driving charge with a Withhold of Adjudication.  This will allow them to seal their record later unless they have previously had another misdemeanor or felony case where they were adjudicated guilty.  It will also not be considered as a conviction and therefore should not affect their insurance premiums.

With that said, it is always best to retain a qualified attorney to review your case before you enter into a program like this.  When a person enters into the “Back on Track Program” they are required to sign an admission of guilt.  If they later drop out or fail to meet the conditions of the program, then their admission of guilt may be used against them.  There is no turning back once you sign up and enter the program.  By entering the program a person gives up any chance they have to challenge their DUI arrest.  They will not be able to dispute any of the evidence against them or file any motions to suppress evidence.  Additionally, a review of the penalties shows that the requirements to complete the program are quite extensive.  To complete the program, a person must attend DUI school and treatment if required, impound their vehicle or place an ignition interlock device that they must blow into in order to start their vehicle, perform community service hours and attend a victim impact class.

Another reason that I believe that the hiring of an attorney is important is because entering the Back on Track Program does not in any way affect the Administrative Suspension associated with a first time DUI.  When a person blows over .08%, on a first DUI, this triggers an automatic 180 day license suspension and the person must serve 30 days of that suspension before being eligible for a hardship license.  If a person refuses to blow on a first DUI they will receive a license suspension of 1 year and the person must serve 90 days of that suspension before being eligible for a hardship license.  The DUI administrative suspensions must be challenged within 10 days of the DUI arrest or they will be permanently waived.

A PDF file from Court Options that details the Back on Track Program’s criteria and requirements may be seen here: Miami-Dade Court Options – DUI Back on Track Program.

***Note:  The Back on Track Program is only available in Miami-Dade County.  It is not an option in any other Florida counties such as Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, etc.


Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

A recent USA Today article on boating under the influence shows that numerous states are stepping up enforcement.  In addition, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is pushing for a national marine field sobriety test standard that would enable patrol officers to test boaters while they’re seated.

See video here: States crack down on drunken boaters.

Here are points from the different states noted in the article:

  • Oklahoma has lowered it’s legal blood alcohol level from .10% to .08%.
  • Iowa will reduce their legal blood alcohol level from .10% to .08% beginning July 1, 2011.
  • North Carolina has stepped up their enforcement on both driving and boating under the influence.
  • Texas has the police working hand-in-hand with Judges to expedite warrants to draw blood from suspected impaired boaters.
  • New York will no longer treat impaired boaters as first time offenders if they have had a prior DUI.

In Florida, Boating Under the Influence (BUI) has always been aggressively enforced by the Florida Marine Patrol.

Boating Under the Influence is covered under Florida Statute §327.35.  It carries many of the same penalties as DUI in Florida with a few exceptions.



Conflict of Interest?

Often, two people are arrested together while engaged in what is perceived as a criminal act by the police.

When they come to see me, they often assume that because two persons were arrested, they will need two separate attorneys to represent them.  Sometimes this is correct but this is not always the case.  In fact, there are many situations where having the same attorney will clearly benefit both defendants.

Rule 4-1.7 addresses what disclosure must be made to the clients in order to represent them both in the same criminal case.

The Rule points out that:

(a) Representing Adverse Interests. A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to the interests of another client, unless:

(1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the lawyer’s responsibilities to and relationship with the other client; and

(2) each client consents after consultation.

(b) Duty to Avoid Limitation on Independent Professional Judgment. A lawyer shall not represent a client if the lawyer’s exercise of independent professional judgment in the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client or to a third person or by the lawyer’s own interest, unless:

(1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected; and

(2) the client consents after consultation.

(c) Explanation to Clients. When representation of multiple clients in a single matter is undertaken, the consultation shall include explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved.


Do I Really Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

The State Attorney announced in court that they would not put me in jail if convicted so I don’t need a lawyer!

Although this is wonderful news, this does not mean that a conviction will not affect you for the rest of your life. A single conviction may keep you from getting your dream job, keep you out of certain social clubs or deny you of membership in homeowner’s associations when purchasing or renting a home. If convicted of a Felony you would also lose your right to vote and carry a firearm.

It’s only a Misdemeanor.

A misdemeanor crime is punishable by a jail sentence and/or probation. 364 days for a first degree misdemeanor and 60 days for a second degree misdemeanor.


I can use the Assistant Public Defender for free and save some $.

Let me start by saying that there are many excellent Public Defender’s out there… With that said, PD’s are overworked and underpaid. They often have a hundred or more open cases in addition to in-court duty and other concerns. You also don’t get to choose which PD will represent you. By hiring the right private attorney, you will get the individual attention that most Public Defender’s simply can not provide. The right private attorney will have the time and attention that will make the difficult time a client faces while being prosecuted much smoother. They can constantly keep the client informed of developments, meet with family, develop theories of defense and be available for all questions/concerns that the client may have. *** I am not promoting that all private attorney’s are better suited to help you. Some private attorneys take too many cases, are completely unprepared and/or do not spend nearly enough time working to resolve matters for their clients.


It’s my first DUI – It will just be a slap on the wrist.

DUI penalties throughout the United States have become particularly severe. This is definitely the case in Florida where we have some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. The hiring of a lawyer can save you from a conviction which may cost you thousands of dollars in fines and court costs, numerous hours taking classes and receiving alcohol treatment, additional time spent performing community service hours, mandatory impounding of your vehicle and the potential to have a required embarrassing interlock device installed on your vehicle. DUI is treated very seriously by the courts and has some of the toughest lobbyists in the nation with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) constantly pushing the legislature for even tougher laws against violators.