To Program or not to Program: Will Tiger Woods Plea on Wednesday

Tiger Woods DUI arrest on May 29th, 2017 sparked a lot of debate on whether or not he was guilty of DUI.   Most people think DUI means under the influence of alcohol.  Under FS.§316.193 a person is guilty of DUI when a person is in actual physical control of his vehicle and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.

Tiger Blew 0.00

As we have discussed Mr. Woods didn’t blow over the legal limit of .08BAC in fact he didn’t register and alcohol.  The problem is that Tiger admitted to taking medicine that were substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.  So the question becomes does Tiger have a leg (or tail) to stand on.

Looking at the Road Side video, his actions do not look trial worth.   May have some defenses to the performance of the field sobriety exercieses as they are physical tasks that it is well documented that he had a recent surgery.    I am not sure this defense would hold water with a top level athlete such as Woods.

So what are his options?

Palm Beach County first time offenders program

The State attorney’s office in the 15th Judicial Circuit has set up  a first time DUI offenders program .  Not every Defendant may qualify, however many can if:

  • This is a first DUI offense;
  • No accident;
  • No injuries;
  • No other commission of crimes

It appears Mr. Woods does indeed qualify.  The big debate is should he?  The first time offenders program allows you to plea to a reckless driving and receive a withhold of adjudication (no conviction in Florida).  This would allow you to seal your record.    The probation period is 12 months and requires all of the DUI requirements and more.   In a typical DUI plea, you could see less probation.

Experts weigh in on doing the program

The Palm Beach Post had a detailed article of some of Palm Beach Counties finest attorneys (somehow they forget to get my opinion) on whether he should do the program.   The debate come down to this what does Tiger have to lose?

I believe the case looks bad against him, if this were any other person, I don’t know if we would be having a debate.   Tiger has notoriety and since this is a first offense, I don’t foresee him having to serve any jail time if he gets convicted.  So some would say roll the dice.    It won’t matter if he can get his arrest sealed because the world already knows about it.

Tigers decision needs to be what is best for business.   If he gets a not guilty, we have all seen the dash cam.   If he gets found guilty, then it looks like he used his celebrity status to get by with something.   If he enrolls in the program and successfully completes it, it will probably smooth theses unsettled seas.

If this were my client, or a loved one of my client weighing their options, I would have them read my book: My Loved One has been Arrested, What’s Next?