Every state has toughened up their DUI laws over the years, and Florida is no exception. The days of a cop asking you if you’re okay to drive home are long gone from both a revenue collection and a legal liability standpoint. The fact is simply that you are in a lot of trouble if you get pulled over for a DUI in the Sunshine State.
Of course, like other states, Florida does offer some leeway with regards to a first offense DUI, especially if there is no bodily harm or property damage involved in the incident. In Florida’s case, drivers are sometimes allowed to plead guilty to what is known as a “wet reckless,” which is reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol. These pleas are rare, and getting increasingly so, but they are designed to offer some degree of “fair warning” to someone who just made a single mistake in their life. Yet, even this escape hatch can later be construed as a drunk driving conviction if the violator ever does it again.
It is this process of escalation that can lead to someone facing significant periods of incarceration. Most first time offenders are let off with heavy fines and large amounts of community service and/or DUI classes. Once a driver repeats the offense, however, the risk of jail time quickly adds up. Even worse, what was initially handled as a misdemeanor turns into an increasingly serious level of felonious conduct if it keeps happening or if damage occurs.
Indeed, the threat of jail time soon becomes the promise of jail (or even prison) time as repeat violations add up. As a result, it behooves anyone who is facing an alcohol-related charge in the state of Florida to consult with qualified DUI lawyers, Many people simply do not understand the increasingly-complex ladders of escalation that are built into most current DUI laws. Even a borderline case that a motorist might regard as “no big thing” can set the stage for the next “no big thing” to turn into a free vacation in the Gray Bar Hilton.
Since all DUIs result in legal paper trails that can adversely affect one’s job prospects as well as their insurance rates, it is always in the best interest of the defendant to fight these claims to the best of their ability. You might think that simply “manning up” and admitting your mistake is the decent and moral thing to do, not to mention less expensive than hiring a lawyer, but you would be wrong in the extreme. Save your future and consult with a DUI lawyer before you do anything else.