Tiger Woods to enter first-time DUI offender program

Golfer's attorney enters not guilty plea during hearing in Palm Beach Gardens

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will enter Palm Beach County's first-time DUI offender program after his May arrest near his home in Jupiter.

Attorney Douglas Duncan entered a not guilty plea on the DUI charge Wednesday in a Palm Beach Gardens courthouse.

Woods' arraignment was reset for Oct. 25, when he is expected to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. The golfer was not present at the hearing.

Under the county's first-time DUI offender program, Woods would have to plead guilty to reckless driving, a second-degree misdemeanor, and receive a year's probation.

He would also have to pay a $250 fine and court costs, attend DUI school, perform 50 hours of community service and attend a workshop in which victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged. He also would be subject to random drug and alcohol testing and other conditions.

Duncan wouldn't comment to reporters as he left the courtroom.

"I don't talk about my cases outside the courtroom," Duncan told reporters. "I respect all of you. You have a job to do, but I hope that you respect my practices that I just don't talk about pending cases outside the courtroom."

Woods was arrested at 2 a.m. May 29 about 15 miles from his home in Jupiter, when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked awkwardly on the side of the road and had damage to the driver's side. It's not clear how he damaged the car. Officers checked the area but didn't find that he had hit anything.

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.

Woods announced last month he had completed treatment at an out-of-state clinic to deal with his use of prescription medications.

"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 said.

Woods' 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 major titles both rank No. 2 all-time. He has not competed since February because of his back injury and is not expected to return this year. His last win was in August 2013.

His public image suffered severe damage on Thanksgiving weekend 2009 when he plowed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his then-home in Windermere. That led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs and a divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren, the mother of his two children.

Woods will be required to appear in court next month if he intends to begin the diversion program.