Criminal Defense in Your Neck of the Woods
Florida Statues defines Reckless Driving as "any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. A first conviction for reckless driving is punishable by imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $500, or by both such fine and imprisonment. On a second or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Reckless Driving is obviously a very general charge and can arise in several ways.
Alcohol Related Reckless Driving "Wet Reckless"
In some occasions a person who is originally charged with DUI, Driving Under the Influence, may be offered the lesser charge of Alcohol Related Reckless Driving "Wet Reckless" by the Office of the State Attorney in a plea deal. Other times the State may proceed on an Alcohol Related Reckless Driving Charge if they do not feel they have enough evidence to prosecute DUI but enough for some form of criminal conviction. In order to attain a Wet Reckless stemming from DUI a person usually needs facts that are beneficial to their case and an assertive lawyer who is familiar with the local court system and prosecutors office to request and lobby for a Reckless Driving. For instance, currently in Seminole County, a person charged with DUI only qualifies for Reckless Driving if: (1) they have no prior criminal record (2) were compliant during arrest (3) did not refuse to provide a blood, urine, or breath sample and (4) blew under .15 Blood Alcohol Content, BAC. Nonetheless, the State is still not required to offer a Reckless Driving if the above facts are present, sometimes an individual may need good facts and potential weaknesses for the State's case to get a Reckless Offer. Unfortunately in Seminole County Pre-Trial Diversion is not offered for First Time DUI as in Orange County; therefore, a Reckless Driving many times is the only way to keep a DUI off an individual's record.
Florida Statutes 316.192(5) provides that if the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol or chemical substances contributed to the criminal allegations of Reckless Driving then one must complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation as part of their sentence. In other words, many if not most of the requirements, including probation will be offered as terms for a Wet Reckless, including: license suspension and/or restriction, completion of DUI School, Counter Attack School, Victim Awareness Panel, Community Service, Alcohol Evaluation and Recommended Treatment, ban on consuming alcohol with being subject to random urinalysis, fines, court costs and potential loss of insurance by your current provider or an increase in rates by your current provider. That said, you may ask yourself what is the advantage of “pleaing out” to a Reckless Driving?
Alcohol Related Reckless Driving is not the "free pass" many believe the charge to be; however, there are clear benefits. First and foremost Reckless Driving does not carry the same "stigma" that DUI convictions possesses for friends, family, and most importantly current and future employers. Secondly, DUI is an “enhanceable” offense, meaning subsequent DUI's carry more severe penalties including lengthy Driver's License suspensions and mandatory Jail time. Finally, an insurance company is more likely to keep insuring you without a DUI conviction; however, no lawyer can make any promises to what an insurance company will or will not do in regards to reckless driving and/or DUI, that is entirely up to the individual person and their respective insurance.
Contact Central Florida DUI Lawyer, Ryan Yadav, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, for a free consultation if you have been charged with DUI or Reckless Driving.