Under the state’s traffic statutes, there are a number of violations that can lead to a Florida reckless driving charge. If you are convicted of reckless driving in Florida, the penalties may include a monetary fine, points on your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record. To avoid these penalties, you can hire an attorney to help fight your reckless driving charge.
If you have received a Florida reckless driving charge, a Miami criminal defense lawyer can:
- investigate your case to determine your options;
- recommend the best course of action for you to take; and
- if appropriate, fight your reckless driving charge in a formal court of law.
Florida Reckless Driving Laws
According to Florida reckless driving laws, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle is also an act of reckless driving.
Anyone convicted of their first Florida reckless driving violation will face:
- a minimum fine of $25, with a maximum fine of $500; and
- imprisonment for a maximum of 90 days.
Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent Florida reckless driving violation will face:
- a minimum fine of $50, with a maximum of $1000; and
- imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months.
Anyone convicted of three Florida reckless driving violations within one year may have their license permanently revoked.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of reckless driving in Florida, and you have caused damage to someone else’s property, you will be charged with a first- degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted of reckless driving in Florida, and you have caused someone serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. Convictions for violations such as these will result in far more serious penalties, and will leave you with a permanent criminal record.
Finally, if you are convicted of reckless driving in Florida while under the influence of alcohol, you will be ordered to complete a DUI program and a subsequent evaluation. If you fail to complete this DUI program and evaluation, your driving privileges will be revoked until you complete the mandatory program.
Fighting Your Florida Reckless Driving Charge
Reckless driving in Florida is a very serious crime. Convictions such as these can affect your finances, your day to day life, and your ability to get a job. Before you accept these penalties, you should have a lawyer investigate your case, and determine whether there is a way to beat or reduce your reckless driving charge.
The first thing a Miami criminal defense attorney will investigate is whether your driving was truly “reckless”. Perhaps the arresting officer made a mistake, or was unfair in their determination. Again, the charge must be based on the “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of others.
In court, your attorney may use the testimony of experts to prove your innocence. Or, your Miami criminal defense attorney may succeed in having certain evidence dismissed. If it cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you were guilty of reckless driving, a court may choose to drop your charge, or reduce it to a lesser charge.
On the other hand, if it looks as though you will be found guilty of reckless driving in Florida, your Miami criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain. This means that if you accept a conviction of a lesser charge, the court may reduce your penalties and fines. This may keep you out of jail, and keep a damaging conviction off of your permanent criminal record.
There is no guarantee that a plea bargain will be offered, or if it carries penalties that you are willing to accept, but a lawyer can help to advise you on the pros and cons of the situation so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Contacting a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges in South Florida, your legal team is your best defense. Contact the Miami criminal defense lawyer team at Falk & Ross to discuss your case – (877) 663-5110.