September 29, 2015
Driving under the influence, or DUI, and reckless driving are entirely separate criminal charges, although they may occur together. As opposed to a DUI, reckless driving is a second degree misdemeanor with significantly lighter sentencing. Prosecutors are under no legal obligation to reduce a driving under the influence (DUI) charge to reckless driving, but they might consider the following factors along with others:
– The driver’s blood alcohol content
– Whether there was an accident and/or injuries
– Whether the defendant was cooperative or argumentative
– Defendant’s prior driving record
– The Defendant’s performance on field sobriety exercises
Reckless Driving Penalties
A first offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 and up to three months in jail, up to six months of probation and four points against your license. Of course, if the reckless driving resulted in any property damage or serious bodily injuries, the sentencing becomes more severe. Property damage can result in a conviction of a first degree misdemeanor, and life-threatening bodily damage can result in a felony of the third degree.
Second Offense Consequences
A second or subsequent reckless driving conviction can result in imprisonment for not more than 6 months or by a fine of no more than $1,000. Although a DUI charge can get reduced to a reckless driving charge, it is more difficult and less likely that this will be available on a second or subsequent DUI arrest.
Something Else to Consider: Insurance Premiums
Even if the DUI charge is dismissed or reduced to a reckless driving charge, your auto insurance rates may still go up. Insurers consider risk when calculating premiums, and with a guilty plea to reckless driving (and potential points) on your record, the insurer may deem you to be a high risk driver.
Call the Khonsari Law Group
If you have been charged with a DUI in the Tampa Bay Area, contact us at the Khonsari Law Group right away. You might be eligible to have your DUI charge reduced to a charge of reckless driving. Our knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorneys will give your case a complete evaluation for purposes of seeking a dismissal or plea to this lesser charge. Call the Khonsari Law Group, or use our online contact form.