The harsh consequences of a Florida DUI Conviction include probation, thousands of dollars in court costs and fines, a driver’s license suspension, dui school, and possibly even jail.
A reduction of a charge to a reckless driving can relieve the client of not only many of the outrageous DUI fines and penalties, but also the stigma surrounding a DUI conviction. However, only the prosecutor can reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving. If the prosecutor will not agree to reduce the DUI charge, then the client must decide whether to take a DUI conviction, or go to trial. Whether the prosecutor will agreed to reduce a DUI charge depends on three things:
1. The Facts: Might the prosecutor lose the case at trial?
2. The Law: Might a Judge throw the case out because the Officer violated the arrested citizen’s rights, and
3. Your Past: Does the arrested citizen have a clean prior record, or has he been arrested for DUI before.
A Good Tampa Bay DUI Attorney must understand these three factors when negotiating your case with the Prosecutor.
1. The Facts: Might the Prosecutor lose at trial?
State Attorneys want convictions. High convictions percentages increase the likelihood of a happy State Attorney- constituency, and a better chance at reelection. Accordingly, State Attorneys want to win at trial. Or perhaps more accurately, State Attorneys do not want to lose at trial.
If the prosecutor fears that the facts of case might lead to an acquittal by a Jury, he will be more wheeling to resolve the case for a reduction of a reckless driving. The prosecutor will still get his conviction, so his conviction percentage. However, the gamble of trial goes both ways: while the prosecutor may worry that the jury will acquit the citizen, the citizen is equally worried that a Jury may find him guilty. Therefore, the happy resolution may indeed be reckless driving charge.
2. The Law: Might a Judge throw the case out because the Officer violated the arrested citizen’s right?
The United States Constitution protects its Citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. What that means in the context of a DUI case is that police officer’s cannot pull you over for any reason. Rather, the police must have reasonable suspicion that the citizen has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Alternatively, the police may stop a citizen if they have probable cause to believe that the citizen is committing a traffic infraction in front of them (think running a red light in front of the police).
However, if the officer pulled over the citizen unreasonably, then a Judge may throw out all the evidence seized by the officer obtained subsequent to the stop.
While there exists some clear cut examples of unreasonable police seizures, many cases fall into a grey area: the Judge could rule either that the stop was reasonable, or unreasonable. If the Judge rules that the stop was unreasonable, then the prosecutor may have to dismiss the case, because all of the evidence of impairment after the stop will be thrown out. Accordingly, out of fear of losing the motion, the prosecutor may agree to reduce the charge to a reckless driving.
3. Your Past: Does the arrested citizen have a clean prior record, or has he been arrested for DUI before?
Finally, the citizen’s past is an important factor in whether the prosecutor will agree to reduce the DUI charge to a reckless driving. If the citizen has no prior criminal history, or at least no prior DUI related offenses, then the prosecutor may be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in negotiations and agree to reduce the charge. However, if the citizen has five DUI’s on his record, the prosecutor will be more likely to roll the dice at trial or at a motion