Every human being makes mistakes all the time. Some mistakes can lead to criminal charges. The realization that not all criminal acts were intentional is one of the foundations of OUI diversion programs. Participation comes with significant responsibilities and great benefits.
OUI diversion isn't available to everyone who is facing a charge for driving drunk in Massachusetts. Instead, there are specific criteria that must be met. One special law, the Valor Act, provides a unique opportunity for men and women who served in the military.
What is a DUI/OUI diversion program?
Participants must complete program components on a schedule. When they've done everything necessary to complete the program, the court can drop the OUI/DUI charge. This dismissal gives the person a second chance.
A person who is going through the diversion program will receive a list of what they must do. The required components can include community service, taking random alcohol screening tests, going through education courses and paying their fines. They must stay out of legal trouble and report to a monitoring officer as required by the program. Rehabilitation for an addiction to alcohol or drugs is also necessary.
It is possible that the court will require other things like an ignition interlock device installation on vehicles the person will drive. The court looks at various circumstances of the person's situation to determine what is necessary.
Why do veterans have a special program?
One primary reason for the Valor Act's involvement in drunk driving cases for veterans is that these individuals might have difficulties adjusting to civilian life when they are discharged from the military. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2017 that the exceptions made for veterans facing OUI (operating under the influence) charges for alcohol or drugs is legal.
The Valor Act provides the possibility of receiving specific services that can help veterans rebuild their lives after service. Typically, only first-time offenders can participate in the diversion program so going through it multiple times isn't usually possible.
What should a person do when they are charged?
The priority should be to work quickly to find out what options you have. A realistic, informed look at the case is the springboard to determining a defense strategy for you. If you are a veteran, you might benefit from learning about the Valor Act and any available diversion programs.