What is the Back on Track (BOT) Program?
You may have heard about special programs that first-time DUI offenders are offered. They are marketed as a guaranteed way to avoid a DUI conviction on your record. For many, these programs truly are the best choice. But that’s not true for everyone.
In Miami-Dade County, the first time DUI program is called Back on Track or BOT. Many attorneys, prosecutors, and judges sing BOT’s praises. A successful completion of the program will result in your case being reduced from a DUI to a Reckless Driving, and a withhold of adjudication instead of a conviction. But make sure you understand the full picture before accepting.
So what’s the catch?
First, and most importantly, one of the requirements to accepting Back on Track is to admit under oath or in writing that you did commit DUI. If you fail to complete even the smallest condition of the BOT, you could get bounced out of the program. What then? You’re re-prosecuted for DUI, and now the prosecution has your signed confession. Sadly, this happens more often than you might think. Can’t afford to pay for the classes? Missed some treatment sessions? Didn’t have time to do some community service hours? Any one of these or other conditions could bounce you out.
Second, the program is almost always offered early in the prosecution — before the State Attorney has really investigated your case to know whether it’s strong. If you and your attorney know that you have a solid defense or are simply comfortable with the risks associated with trial, then perhaps trying for an outright dismissal or acquittal is in your best interests. It’s common for essential government witnesses to fail to appear; police officers testimony to be inconsistent with reports; or any number of things to happen that might result in you being offered an even better plea deal than you would have received if you successfully completed BOT.
Third, prosecutors and judges are used to defendants jumping at the chance to take the Back on Track program. In fact, they bank on it. If you reject the offer, it sends a signal that you believe you have a strong case. That gives me, your DUI attorney, a chance to convince a prosecutor to offer a favorable plea or outright dismiss a case.
Finally, the program can be costly, time consuming, and an invasion of privacy. Some people simply don’t have the money, time, or desire to submit to drug/alcohol tests randomly or to pay to install an ignition interlock. The program’s requirements are very similar to the penalties for a DUI conviction (less the additional license suspension). With the help of your attorney, you should consider all these points in determining whether to go to trial.
For some people, Back on Track truly is the right choice. They are well equipped to handle the time and financial rigors of successfully completing the program, and they need the guarantee of a non-DUI blemish on their record. For many others, though, the program may not be in their best interests. Let me help you figure out the best course of action.
Call now for a FREE consultation. (305) 938-9939.