Can I Get My DUI Charges Reduced?
Almost all motorists who have been charged with a DUI would like to know if their charges can be reduced to something less serious or even rescinded.
It is first important to understand that getting a charge of DUI revoked is not always possible if the law enforcement officer has abided by the legal rules, but in many cases, it is possible to have the charges reduced to Reckless Driving.
Why Have A Charge Of DUI Reduced To Reckless Driving?
Many DUI lawyers indicate to motorists charged with DUI that getting the charges reduced to Reckless Driving is far better than a conviction for DUI. The reason why a charge of Reckless Driving is better than a DUI charge is because of the following reasons:
- The penalties for reckless driving are far less severe than if one is charged with DUI.
- Once convicted of a DUI charge in Florida, it stays on your driving record for many decades, whereas – Reckless Driving records can be expunged in a much shorter period of time.
- When applying for a job, loan, or any other public position, a charge of DUI carries a greater negative stigma than if you are convicted of Reckless Driving. To most people, Reckless Driving sounds like a less serious offence and hence, your reputation is not negatively affected.
- Insurance companies usually deal harshly with drivers convicted with a DUI, whereas in many cases, a charge of Reckless Driving is dealt less severely. This can mean avoiding paying a huge increase in your insurance premiums, which is usually the case with a DUI conviction. Further, many insurance companies are not willing to insure motorists charged with a DUI, this is not always the case with Reckless Driving. Not being designated a ‘high risk’ driver can save you a lot of hassles like getting insurance for your car.
- In Florida, when your DUI charge has been reduced to Reckless Driving, the minimum mandatory monetary penalty is must less than that for a DUI.
- In occupations where driving is a requirement, a charge of DUI may mean a loss of a job, but this is not always the case with Reckless Driving. Employers are usually not sympathetic with drunk drivers.
- When you are charged with a DUI, it may make it harder to get another job. Many employers consider drivers with a DUI to be a major liability, whereas this is not always the case with a charge of Reckless Driving.
- If the court allows the charges to be reduced from a DUI to Reckless Driving and if you are later arrested for another DUI, then this will be considered to be a first time DUI offence (but this also depends on the judge’s discretion).
How Does A DUI Court Work?
The first thing to understand about a DUI court is that the judge is neutral and cannot lower your DUI charge. The court has certain rules which it follows in every DUI case:
In Court, the law enforcement officer will provide details on ‘probable cause’ of why he/she stopped your car and why an arrest for DUI was made. The results of the breathalyzer test will be shown in court including your behavior and sobriety tests.
The Prosecutor will then try to convince the judge that the driver was drunk in order to secure a conviction. The prosecutor will be well prepared and will have reviewed all the evidence the police have collected. He or she will then provide the court with all the facts about the case. The role of the prosecutor is to seek justice by stating the severity of the offence and convincing the judge about the crime.
Your DUI Defense Lawyer will also look at all the police information and try to determine if everything was done legally and appropriately. For example, the DUI attorney will look at how the breathalyzer was administered, was it a new machine, had it been calibrated, when and what other tests were done to assess for the presence of alcohol in the blood? The job of the DUI attorney is to find mistakes in the officer’s conduct that may have resulted in an erroneous reading or minimize the consequences. This may lead the prosecutor to lower the charges from a DUI to Reckless Driving. Further, the DUI attorney may file motions to limit certain admissible evidence, which can further weaken the prosecutor’s case.
The role of the Judge in court is to ensure that the trial is conducted fairly and both parties have time to tell their story. The judge only decides on the penalty, but only after listening to both sides.
It is important to understand that it is the prosecutor who brings the charges of DUI and it is only him or her who can drop the charges, not the judge. Thus, it is vital that you select a DUI attorney who is skilled in court, gets along well with everyone in court and has experience with DUI courts.
What Else Can Help Reduce DUI Charges?
An experienced DUI attorney may detect all the weaknesses and deficiencies in the state’s case, which can include the following:
- Whether the stopping of your vehicle was legal and whether you were involved in an accident.
- Your performance in the field sobriety test and whether the officer discovered any alcoholic beverages in the automobile.
- In addition, the DUI attorney may show a video to reflect any procedural problems with the sobriety test. He or she may also ask for proof that the breath test machine was maintained and calibrated according to industry standards.
- Sometimes the investigating law enforcement officer’s past performance, integrity and work ethics may be challenged, which can quickly dispel any confidence that the prosecution has in their witness.
- In some cases, the DUI attorney may provide affidavits from witnesses or other passengers who can attest to your mental status, behavior, and ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- Finally, in some cases, the DUI attorney will highlight any personal background information that may help change the prosecutor’s decision to change the charge to reckless driving. For example, if you are a doctor or a prominent member of the community with no other past DUI convictions, this may convince the prosecutor to drop the DUI charge to Reckless Driving.
Contact An Experienced Orlando DUI Attorney
If you’re facing a charge of DUI in Florida, it is important to have an experience DUI attorney on your case immediately. Former state prosecutor and criminal defense and DUI attorney, Chad Frost, understands the intricacies involved in DUI cases and will aggressively defend your rights. Contact Frost Law at (407) 670-5569 for a free consultation and case review.