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DUI diversion program could avoid criminal record for TV host

Iowa television viewers may be most familiar with TV talk show host Steve Wilkos' on-camera demeanor and approach to criminal justice issues. His tough-guy style that dates from his days as head of security for the Jerry Springer program has won him fans and foes of his television style. However, Wilkos is taking a more moderate approach to criminal justice in his own life, receiving admission to a DUI diversion program that can lead to drunk driving charges being erased from his criminal record.

He was arrested and charged with drunk driving in Darien, Connecticut, in January 2018 after he flipped over his vehicle while driving. He originally claimed that he found it difficult to see without his glasses and that he was reaching to put his glasses on when he ran into objects along the side of the road before the car flipped over. The one-car accident injured only Wilkos, who took a break from his talk-show filming schedule. However, police challenged his account of the accident and he was charged with drunk driving.

Wilkos had a hearing on the DUI charges in Stamford Superior Court on April 23, 2018, where he expressed his regret for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, labeling it a lapse in judgment. The judge accepted his admission to a 15-week alcohol education program run by the state of Connecticut. By attending the course and participating in a panel with victims of drunk driving, Wilkos will have the charges erased from his criminal record.

People who are accused of drunk driving could face serious consequences if convicted, including loss of one's driver's license, costly fines, a criminal record and even jail or prison time. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help an individual accused of DUI to present a defense in court or negotiate with prosecutors in order to achieve an outcome that protects their client's future.

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