Woods to enter diversion program in October


Tiger Woods plead not guilty to the DUI charge stemming from his May 29 arrest in South Florida on Wednesday and will enter a pre-trial diversion program.

A Palm Beach County judge ordered a continuance of the hearing on Oct. 25, when it is expected Woods will plead guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving, which is a second-degree misdemeanor and enter the diversion program.

Woods, who was not present for the hearing, will have to pay a $250 fine and court costs, attend a DUI school, perform 50 hours of community service and attend a DUI workshop as part of the program. He would also be subject to random drug and alcohol testing under the program.

Woods’ attorney Douglas Duncan declined to comment following the hearing.

“He was not treated any differently than anybody else. ... Anyone else in the same position as him would be offered the same exact thing,” chief assistant state attorney Adrienne Ellis told the Associated Press.

According to court documents, Woods “must be present” at the Oct. 25 hearing. NBC legal contributor Katie Phang said Woods’ attorney can submit a request to waive his appearance at the hearing but it’s not likely the court would allow that.

Woods was arrested at 2 a.m. on May 29 in Jupiter, Fla., when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked on the side of the road and had damage to the driver's side wheels and tires.

Woods didn't know where he was when asked by officers and he stumbled and swayed through a field sobriety test, police dashboard camera video showed. Woods told officers he was taking the painkiller Vicodin and Xanax, which treats anxiety and insomnia, to cope with his fourth back surgery in April. Tests showed he had no alcohol in his system.

On June 19, Woods released a statement via Twitter, “I’m currently receiving professional help to manage my medications and the ways that I deal with back pain and a sleep disorder. I want to thank everyone for the amazing outpouring of support and understanding especially the fans and players on Tour.”

Two weeks later he released a second statement saying he had completed an out-of-state “private intensive program.”

Woods has not competed since February because of his back injury and is not expected to return this year. His last Tour victory was in August 2013.