Tiger Woods enters DUI first-offender program
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tiger Woods, who was arrested in Florida on Memorial Day on suspicion of driving under the influence, has entered a DUI first-offender program, according to a spokesperson for the state attorney in the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that the program typically calls for a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving, rather than DUI. But it comes with conditions.
Woods’ arraignment charge, which was scheduled for Wednesday, has been moved to October 25.
According to Aronberg’s executive assistant, Mike Edmondson, who confirmed the first-offender status for Woods, no plea was entered on behalf of the golfer.
Aronberg said in a statement that he is not permitted to discuss pending cases, but he did provide information on his office’s first-time DUI offender program, which was created in 2013.
In entering the program, the state drops the DUI charge and the defendant pleads guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving. They must fulfill certain requirements, such as DUI school, probation and a ban on alcohol and drug consumption.
Completion of the program does not expunge the defendant’s record. Instead, the court withholds the adjudication of guilt, meaning the reckless driving charge will appear on the record but show no finding of guilt.
If the program is not successfully completed, the defendant will have the second-degree misdemeanor on his record. Reckless driving is a lesser charge than DUI.
Woods was not present at the courthouse. His attorney, Douglas Duncan, would not comment on the case when asked by reporters.
“This case has been reset for arraignment until October 25,” Duncan said. “That’s all I can say.”
CNN reached out to Woods’ attorney but received no response.
According to police records, Woods, who has a home on Jupiter Island, was asleep by himself in his 2015 Mercedes-Benz on the side of the road with the car running, brake lights illuminated and right turn signal flashing on May 29. Both tire rims on the driver’s side of the Mercedes had minor damage and the front and rear tires on that side of the vehicle were flat.
Police also observed damage to the bumper on the driver’s side, white scrapes and scuffs on the rear bumper, and that the passenger side rear taillight was not working, according to the documents. Records say there was no crash or damage to any property.
A police report said Woods, who was wearing his seat belt, had to be awakened and that his speech was slurred.
In one of the dashcam videos released to the media, an officer asks Woods to step out of the car. The former world No. 1 golfer does so very slowly and appears unsteady.
Another video shows an officer giving Woods a field sobriety test. The officer asks him whether he has been drinking, and he says no. When asked whether he had been taking medications, Woods says yes and the officer asks which ones. Woods’ answer is muted in the recording.
At one point, Woods starts to walk away, then stumbles back, saying, “What are we doing?”
Woods took a Breathalyzer test, registering 0.000 on it, and a urine test, according to police records. The report noted the golfer was cooperative.
After the arrest, Woods said in a statement that alcohol was not involved and he had “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” In June, Woods said in a statement on Twitter that he is receiving “professional help” to manage medication for back pain and a sleep disorder. He announced in July that he had completed an out-of-state private intensive program.
Woods has won 14 major tournaments, second only to Jack Nicklaus. But the 41-year-old golfer has undergone multiple back surgeries and hasn’t played competitive golf since he was forced to pull out of the Dubai Desert Classic in February. In a post on his website from May 24, he expressed a desire to continue to play professionally despite his recent history of injuries.
He underwent fusion surgery on his back earlier this year, his fourth operation since 2014. In the May 24 post, Woods said, “it was instant nerve relief.”
“I haven’t felt this good in years,” he said.