Woods to get a Mulligan
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) — The diversion programme for intoxicated drivers that Tiger Woods is expected to enter Friday is one of several across the country aimed at reducing the number of repeat offenders and backlogs of court cases.
The 41-year-old superstar golfer is scheduled to plead guilty at a court hearing to reckless driving, a less severe charge than driving under the influence, as part of a Palm Beach County, Florida, programme that has graduated almost 2,500 first-time offenders since it began four years ago.
Deputy State Attorney Richard Clausi, who oversees the county's misdemeanour prosecutions, said that less than one per cent of the program's participants have reoffended. He said the key has been getting offenders to take responsibility for their actions without requiring a trial and making sure they complete the programme.
"It's still early, but we think it has been a success," he said.
In the diversion program, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a $250 fine and court costs. He also must attend DUI school, perform 20 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged. Since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana, according to court records, he will also be required to undergo regular drug tests.
To qualify, offenders must show a judge that they have already begun complying with these requirements. If Woods completes the programme, he can ask a judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction, but if he is charged again, he could be treated like a second-time DUI offender. He would not be eligible again for diversion and he could face possible jail time, a mandatory licence suspension and stiffer fines.