How to Get a DUI Reduced to Reckless Driving in Florida

Posted by Daniel BottariMay 20, 20200 Comments

DUI to Reckless Driving Lawyers

Oftentimes clients who are facing their first charge of Driving Under the Influence will come to us and ask, “Is it possible to get my DUI reduced to Reckless Driving?” Regardless of whether it's your first DUI or not, if you've been arrested for a DUI in South Florida you may be wondering how to get the charge reduced to Reckless Driving. There are pros and cons to this defense strategy, so it should be discussed with a South Florida DUI lawyer to make sure it's in the best interest for your individual case. If you've been arrested for a DUI in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Lake Worth, the experienced South Florida DUI lawyers at Bottari & Doyle can help. We will fight for your innocence, but if the evidence is truly stacked against you, we will do everything under Florida law for a reduced charge or mitigated sentence.

Arrested for DUI? Call Us at 561-588-2781 for a free consultation. 

Possible Penalties for a DUI charge in South Florida

In Florida, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, often DUI isn't neatly classified as a first or a second degree misdemeanor. A DUI in Florida is punishable by up to six months in jail (not 60 days or one year), but if the impaired driver caused a car accident, it can be punishable by up to one year in jail. A driver convicted of a second DUI can face jail up to six months or one year, depending on if the second DUI occurred within five years of the first DUI conviction. A third DUI arrest outside of ten years from the last DUI is a misdemeanor, but a third DUI within ten years of the previous DUI is a third degree felony. All subsequent DUIs are felonies as are DUIs with serious bodily injury.

Why should I consider a DUI reduction to Reckless Driving?

Each DUI case is unique and only a DUI attorney can accurately assess whether or not a Reckless Driving plea deal makes sense for you. For the most part, however, there can be good benefits to getting a Florida DUI case reduced to reckless driving. Generally, Reckless Driving carries less severe penalties than a DUI charge. Therefore, a “wet reckless” plea deal typically means lower fines and less potential jail time than a DUI conviction. A Reckless Driving plea can also have advantages with regard to license-related consequences, such as the number of points added to your Driver's License.

Arrested for DUI? Call Us at 561-588-2781 for a free consultation. 

Do the number of DUIs matter when getting a DUI reduced to reckless driving?

Absolutely. A prosecutor is more likely to offer a Defendant a negotiated plea to reckless driving when he or she has never previously been convicted of DUI. If you are facing a DUI charge for the first time and wondering what to do after a DUI, contact us at 561-588-2781 for a free consultation. 

What are the factors in determining if a DUI can get reduced to reckless driving?

  1. Defendant's Criminal History: It is easier to get a DUI reduced to reckless driving when a defendant has a clean record.
  2. Breath Alcohol Level: It is illegal to drive or to be in actual physical control of a vehicle when the driver's breath alcohol level is .08 or higher. A high breath reading, .20 or higher will, make a prosecutor less inclined to negotiate with a defense attorney.
  3. Fourth Amendment violations: A good defense attorney can identify when the police violated his client's fourth amendment rights. In the context of driving, a police officer may violate a driver's fourth amendment rights when he stops the driver without probable cause to believe that a traffic infraction occurred. Probable cause is a reasonable belief that either a crime occurred (DUI) or a traffic infraction (speeding, failing to maintain a lane, improper backing). This is important, because a successful fourth amendment challenge through a motion to suppress evidence due to an improper stop will get a DUI case dismissed. The prosecutor is aware of the power of a motion to suppress, and may offer a defendant a deal to reckless driving to avoid having the case dismissed outright.
  4. Good Performance on FSE's (Field Sobriety Exercises): A driver's good performance on field sobriety exercises is strong evidence to a jury that the defendant was not impaired. The most commonly administered FSEs are the walk and turn, the one leg stand, and checking for horizontal gaze nystagmus. The walk and turn and the one leg stand are divided attention tasks. These tasks require the driver to simultaneously perform both mental and physical activities. For example, during the walk and turn, the driver must place one foot in front of the other while counting to nine, turn, and take nine steps back again counting to nine. There is a mental and physical component to this exercise. Many people who are sober have difficulty performing these exercises. This is why a strong performance coupled with a breath refusal can convince a prosecutor that he or she has a weak case. A weak case makes it more likely for the defendant to be offered a deal to reckless driving.
  5. Breath Test Refusal: A defendant who refuses to take the breath test makes it more difficult for the state to prove their case. This is because the state will then have to prove the defendant's normal faculties were impaired, and also argue what is called consciousness of guilt (the position that the defendant refused the breath test because he/she knew they were drunk). However, there are many reasons why a person who was not impaired my refuse to take the breath test. For one, the person will not be free to leave at the jail if the breath sample is below .08. They will remain arrested. Therefore, they have little to benefit from taking the breath test.

Arrested for DUI? Call Us at 561-588-2781 for a free consultation. 

Will the judge reduce my DUI to Reckless Driving?

Ultimately, a plea offer from DUI to reckless driving is at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney. The judge cannot make this offer to the defendant, because the judge does not engage in negotiations. The judge's role is to either accept or deny the offer and pronounce punishment to the defendant. Each DUI case is factually different from the next DUI case, and it is important to contact a DUI attorney due to the severity of the potential criminal consequences.

Need a DUI Lawyer to Reduce DUI to Reckless Driving?

Contact the Law Firm of Bottari & Doyle today to get started on your DUI defense. Our attorneys have extensive experience with DUI reductions, and we can tell you whether or not you would be eligible. Let the criminal defense attorneys of Bottari & Doyle go to work for you – call (561) 588-2781 for a FREE case evaluation.