Virginia golf fans likely heard about Tiger Woods’ DUI charge in May. Though Woods apparently had not been drinking and driving, toxicology reports and his own statements indicate that he was under the influence of a combination of medications when police found him asleep at the wheel of his car. Now Woods is set to enter a DUI diversion program, which could result in his conviction being expunged.
Woods is expected to plea bargain in a Florida court for a lesser charge of reckless driving, and then enter a program that will require community service and DUI school. He will also pay a $250 fine, be on probation for one year and attend a workshop for victims of impaired drivers.
Even after completing the program, if Woods were to be convicted of DUI again, he could still be treated like a second-time offender. But a Florida deputy state attorney says that less than 1 percent of people who have participated in the DUI diversion program have reoffended. Several other states have similar programs. Woods’ hearing was originally scheduled for Oct.25 but was moved to Oct. 27. He admitted in a statement in August that he was self-medicating for pain and said that it was a mistake to have done this without professional medical assistance. He will also have to undergo regular drug testing because his DUI involved prescription drugs and marijuana.
Most people think of drunk driving when they hear about DUI, but as the Tiger Woods case shows, DUI means driving under the influence of any substance that can impair someone’s ability to drive. Police officers must have a valid reason to make a stop and conduct field tests. The results of breath or blood tests can be challenged, or a defense could be mounted that charges police officers with improper stop or testing procedures.