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Tiger Woods pleads guilty, enters first-time offender program

Marc Freeman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Golf

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Golfer Tiger Woods pleaded guilty Friday to a reckless driving charge, avoiding a possible DUI conviction by entering a first-time offender program.

Woods appeared at the county courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens to resolve his case with a second-degree misdemeanor.

Jupiter police said they found Woods asleep at the wheel of his idling Mercedes on May 29. After his arrest made international headlines, Woods, 41, said he had an "unexpected reaction" to medication to aid his recovery from back surgery the previous month.

In August, Woods announced he had completed an out-of-state "private intensive program" for dealing with pain medications, and would "continue to tackle this going forward."

That supports his entry into the county's DUI offender program, rather than an attempt to fight the DUI charge and risk serious consequences for a conviction.

Those penalties include the loss of a driver's license for a minimum of six months and possible jail time of six to nine months.

The State Attorney's Office said Woods was not treated differently than anyone else in similar circumstances would be treated.

State Attorney Dave Aronberg says the diversion program his office started in 2013 aims to prevent repeat DUI offenses with a series of rigorous requirements.

Typically, participants pay for alcohol monitoring devices for three to six months, serve probation for one year, pay fines of $250 to $500, perform 50 to 75 hours of community service, attend DUI school, and undergo random drug testing.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization in Florida endorses the program, which has had 2,100 enrollees so far.

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