What is a DUI reduced to in Florida?
In Florida, per statute, a DUI charge can be reduced to a ‘reckless driving.’ A reckless driving, defined in Florida Statute 316.192, is a lesser charge in the manner in which it appears on a person’s driving record as well as the sanctions imposed by the Court. Unlike a DUI, a reckless driving is not considered a major moving violation by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The offer to reduce/amend a DUI charge to a reckless driving is a result of hard line negotiations by your defense attorney, as well as a close analysis of the facts the state attorney plans to use to prove their case. In most cases, a DUI charge is amended because the facts may not support a conviction for DUI because of witness related problems, breath/blood tests inaccuracies, video surveillance destruction etc.
What is a ‘Wet Reckless’?
When a DUI is reduced and the charge is amended to a ‘wet reckless,’ it means that the charge will show up your driving record as a reckless driving and that the sanctions imposed by the court are slightly different. For example, sanctions for a wet reckless include: probation, DUI school, lower fines and court costs than a DUI, community service hours, a victim impact panel, no vehicle immobilization and (in some counties) a 6 month driver’s license suspension restricted to business purposes only license. Most importantly, you will not be convicted of a DUI.
What is a ‘Reckless Driving’?
When a DUI is amended to a ‘reckless driving,’ the sanctions vary greatly depending on the county. The sanctions imposed by the court once the state attorney has agreed to reduce the charge may or may not include: probation, court costs, fines, DUI school or community service. More importantly, if a charge is amended to a reckless driving, the Judge has the authority to withhold adjudication, meaning that the end result could be no conviction of any criminal offense.
Common Questions regarding a Reckless Driving offense:
I wasn’t driving recklessly so why is it going to show on my record as a ‘reckless driving?’
The important factor is not the name of the reduced/amended charge, it’s the fact that you are not being convicted of a DUI. Pursuant to the statutes, there is no other charge for a DUI to be reduced to other than a reckless driving. Once the charge is reduced, it is not an allegation that you were driving recklessly as much as that you were not driving under the influence.
What will show on my driving record – a DUI or a Reckless Driving?
If the state attorney amends/reduces your DUI charge to a reckless driving, then your driving record will reflect a conviction for reckless driving. A conviction for reckless driving means that four points will be assessed to your driving record. Remember, even though the criminal charge is amended to a reckless driving for purposes of your driving record, it is likely that the administrative suspension will still appear on your driving record as a DUI suspension.
Is it possible to receive a ‘withhold of adjudication’ on a reckless driving?
Yes, Florida law allows for a withhold of adjudication on a reckless driving charge. A withhold of adjudication means that there will be no formal conviction showing on your record. Unlike a DUI charge which requires an adjudication of guilt, a reduced/amended charge of reckless driving allows for a sentence of a withhold of adjudication. The benefit of a withhold of adjudication means that not only is the charge reduced to a reckless driving, but there is no accompanying conviction.
What are the effects on my insurance as a result of a Reckless Driving charge?
The impact on your insurance as a result of a reckless driving is far less than a DUI conviction. For example, you likely won’t be required to acquire high risk insurance or carry high policy limit and in most cases, your insurance company will not drop you from their policy.