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Tiger Woods' guilty plea winds up his DUI case

Star golfer Tiger Woods appeared in a Florida courtroom to wrap up his high-profile, DUI-related saga that began in May of this year, when he was found unconscious in his car.

Prosecutors reduced the DUI charge, and Woods entered a plea of reckless driving in which he agreed to participate in a court-ordered diversion program. The program in Florida includes:

  • 20 hours community service
  • Completion of DUI School
  • Attending a victim impact workshop where people whose lives were changed by DUI tell their stories
  • Payment of a $250 fine

Another part of his plea agreement involved periodic drug testing. Woods tested positive for marijuana and several prescription painkillers, anxiety medications and sleeping pills at the time of his arrest. In addition, he received one year of probation.

If any conditions of his plea deal are not completed in a timely manner, Woods faces up to 90 days in jail and a minimum fine of $500. He also faces these consequences if he fails a drug test or is arrested for another charge during the probationary period.

Shortly after his May arrest, he completed a 45-day inpatient treatment program for substance abuse.

The importance of plea agreements

DUI convictions come with myriad potential penalties and consequences, including lengthy jail stays, huge fines, increased car insurance rates, social stigma and license suspension. Someone as wealthy as Tiger Woods may not be concerned about the financial ramifications of a DUI conviction. For the rest of us, however, a successful defense or plea bargain in the face of drunk driving charges can make a huge difference.

Insurance industry website QuoteWizard.com recently released a study showing that the long-term impact of a DUI is even more than most people realize. The increased car insurance costs alone can be more than $2500 over the three years following a DUI conviction. Bargaining a drunk driving charge down to reckless driving could mean a savings of more than $800 a year on car insurance.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get the charges against you dropped altogether for a lack of evidence, constitutional rights violations, lack of probable cause, or for other reasons. If you're facing drunk driving charges, reach out to a skilled defense lawyer for guidance and help.

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