Reducing a DUI Charge to a Reckless Driving Charge

September 2, 2020 Drunk Driving/DUI

florida dui felony

A conviction of Driving under the Influence (DUI) can have extremely significant impacts on all areas of your life. These penalties and ramifications increase significantly depending on prior convictions:

First DUI

  • Jail – Up to 6 months
    • If BAC over .15, or minor in the car = 9 months
    • If cause of accident = 12 months
  • License suspension – 6 months to one year
  • Fines – $500 – $1,000
    • $1,000 – $2,000 – minor was in the vehicle or BAC was over .15
  • Interlock – If BAC over .15 = at least 6 months
  • Vehicle Impoundment – 10 days

Second DUI

  • Jail – Up to one year based on circumstances
  • License suspension – Minimum of 6 months
    • Minimum of 5 years if within 5 years of first conviction
  • Fines – $1,000 – $2,000
    • $2,000 – $4,000 – minor was in the vehicle or BAC was over .15
  • Interlock – At least one year
    • If BAC over .15 = at least 2 years
  • Vehicle Impoundment – 30 days

Third DUI

  • Jail – Up to one year if prior convictions are 10+ yrs old
    • Up to five years if one of the prior convictions is less than 10 yrs old
  • License suspension – anywhere from 6 months to 10 yrs based on circumstances
  • Fines – $2,000 – $5,000
    • $4,000 – $5,000 – minor was in the vehicle or BAC was over .15
  • Interlock – A minimum of 2 years
  • Vehicle Impoundment – 90 days

Fourth or Subsequent DUI

  • Felony charge
  • Prison – up to 5 years
  • License Revocation – no chance to ever have a full license again for life
  • Fines and Fees – At least $2,000, but can increase substantially

These penalties leave out the DUI classes and community service which are mandatory, as well as other probationary terms which can be imposed such as substance abuse treatment. When a crime carries the type of collateral consequences as a DUI, it is crucial that those accused force the state to their burden before making any concessions.

What is a Reckless Driving Charge?

Occasionally a skilled DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea to reckless driving prior to trial. This at first may sound like a bad deal but when compared to a DUI conviction though, this can be a huge win. None of the penalties above are required to be imposed with a reckless driving plea. The court may order alcohol treatment, or community service, but mandatory interlock and license suspensions would be off the table. The penalties possible for a reckless are:

  • Up to 90 days jail
    • Up to 6 months with a prior conviction
  • Fines: $25 – $500
    • $50 – $1,000 with a prior conviction

People make mistakes, and one of the best advantages of a reckless is starting off at the beginning if there is ever another unfortunate slip-up. Also, if you’re able to get a withhold of adjudication, you may be able to seal the DUI arrest record. This is in addition to the greatly reduced penalties shown above.

The bad news is that DUI laws in Florida are very prosecutor friendly, and do not favor the accused. It is very rare for a prosecutor to just offer a reckless without a defense attorney fighting to reveal how weak a case really is. Some ways an attorney can do that is through raising defenses ahead of trial:

  • Low impairment: In the case of low BAC’s and refusals, an attorney can argue that the prosecutor will not be able to prove impairment to a jury. A track record of success in the past can foster this argument
  • Chemical Test: Often a chemical test itself can be attacked. The Pumphrey law firm has countless not guilty verdicts and dismissals due to faulty chemical tests across the state of Florida
  • Control of the vehicle: After an accident occurs it is sometimes unclear who was driving a vehicle. This is where the assistance of a skilled accident re-constructionists comes into play. Our firm has worked with various experts to show prosecutors and later juries, exactly how an accident actually unfolded.

DUI Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee, FL

Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of experience representing individuals accused of DUI, decades of experience winning these cases and receiving beneficial plea dispositions. They are dedicated to defending the rights of clients in any circumstance and will fight for the best possible result. Call a Florida criminal defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with a DUI attorney in our legal team.

It is impossible to list every possible defense and tactic used by the firm to secure the best possible results, results that speak for themselves. If you have been accused of DUI in Tallahassee or the rest of the state, contact a DUI law firm who has the name recognition and experience across the state to receive reckless offers for their clients. 

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