Some first-time drunk drivers will get their charges reduced if they complete alcohol education classes, seek treatment, and pay fines under a new program being offered by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office, reports the Miami Herald. The “Back on Track” program is meeting resistance from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, along with some DUI defense lawyers and police officers.
Prosecutors say the program was created because far too many drunk drivers escape with no penalty when their cases fall apart before trial. Usually, that means police officers or other witnesses not showing up for trial. “Letting offenders escape with no punishment due to a failure of witnesses to participate in the legal process is absolutely the worst message anyone could send,” said Ed Griffith, a state attorney's spokesman. “We're sending the message that everyone should be held accountable.” Janet Mondshein of MADD said the program is not strict enough. The organization believes all DUIs should be prosecuted criminally.