Prosecutors in the Tampa area often offer to lower DUI charges to Reckless Driving charges if no personal or property damage occurs. Because every DUI case is unique, consulting with a DUI attorney will help guide you through your options when deciding to make a Reckless Driving plea deal. You’ll avoid conviction for alcohol-related driving charges by pleading guilty to Reckless Driving.
What Happens When I Plead Guilty to Reckless Driving?
The penalties include:
- The addition of four points to your Florida driver’s license. However, you may avoid points if the court permits the withholding of adjudication on the Reckless Driving charge.
- A maximum of 90 days in county jail and $500 fine if this is your first reckless driving conviction.
- If you have a prior Reckless Driving conviction, the maximum penalty for a second offense is six months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
- If property damage occurred, the crime could be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
What’s the Upside of Pleading Guilty to Reckless Driving?
By pleading guilty to a Reckless Driving charge, you will not be convicted of any alcohol-related driving charge. There will likely be no additional court-ordered driver’s license suspension. A Reckless Driving plea can also be sealed from your record. This allows your mugshot to be removed from the Sheriff’s Office website.
The court is not required to enforce DUI school, community service hours, or any other requirements mandated under Florida law. Additionally, a Reckless Driving plea typically will not cause increases in auto insurance rates.
How Do Prosecutors Decide When to Reduce a DUI to Reckless Driving?
When reviewing a DUI file, prosecutors generally weigh whether a guilty verdict will likely be obtained at trial. Other factors considered include:
- A defendant has no previous record
- A defendant completed DUI school or voluntary sanction such as an ignition interlock device
- An officer reported that the defendant was cooperative during the DUI investigation
- Concerns about breath test reading accuracy
- Concerns about the legality of the traffic stop, detention, or arrest
- Concerns about refusing to submit to testing
What are the Penalties for a “Wet” Reckless Conviction?
In some Florida cases, the judge can require the defendant to complete evaluation and educational courses if the court has reasonable cause to believe that drugs and/or alcohol contributed to the offense. Failure to comply with the required DUI counseling after a Reckless Driving plea may result in your Florida driver’s license suspension.
Additionally, the driver must take a four-hour basic driver improvement course within 90 days. However, if the court withholds judgment on the reckless driving charge, the driver will not be required to take the course.
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How Long Does a Reckless Driving Charge Stay on Your Record?
Much like a DUI charge in Florida, a reckless driving charge will stay on your record for 75 years. The main difference to note between a DUI charge and Reckless Driving is that Reckless Driving charges can be expunged.
Expungement and sealing are only available to you if you have been charged with Reckless Driving by not convicted.
Get Help From a Veteran Tampa DUI Attorney
It can be challenging to prove Reckless Driving under Florida law but beneficial in resolving a DUI case. That’s why you need an experienced Tampa DUI attorney. Stechschulte Nell Law can help you defend DUI charges as well as help negotiate a plea deal of reckless driving in exchange for reduced charges and penalties.
Contact Stechschulte Nell Law as soon as possible after your DUI arrest to learn more about your options when arrested for a DUI.