There are two general types of traffic offenses in Florida. The most common ones, such as speeding, are known as traffic infractions. If you have been given a citation for a traffic infraction, your punishment could include a conviction, fines, court costs, and points on your driver's license.
However, if you are charged with the more serious class of traffic offenses known as "criminal" traffic violations in Florida, the state may seek jail time against you, or a probationary term. For certain criminal traffic offenses, such as DUI, Florida statutes require a minimum probationary period to be completed pursuant to any plea to the charges. Just like any other criminal charges, if you are placed on probation, you are likely facing a term in jail if you violate the terms that are ordered by the court.
While DUI charges are well known and vigorously prosecuted in Florida, there are many other criminal traffic offenses. Some are filed individually, while other may appear as additional counts to a DUI charge. If you have been charged with one of these offenses, feel that you could be charged, or simply have questions contact our The Law Offices of Eric A Kay, P.A. to discuss any of these Florida criminal traffic offenses, including:
- Hit and run (Leaving the Scene of an Accident)
- Reckless driving
- Driving on a suspended license (DWLS)
- Driving while License Revoked (Felony DWLS)
- Fleeing and Eluding
- Vehicular assault
- Misdemeanor DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Vehicular homicide
If you have been charged with any of the above, or if you believe that you are about to be charged, DO NOT TALK to any police officer or law enforcement personnel about the circumstances of your case. They are not trying to help you, they are not your friends, and they will use anything you say against you.
In addition to potential jail time, criminal traffic offenses may subject you to other penalties, such as probationary terms, suspension of your driving privileges, fines and court costs. Many criminal traffic offenses have enhanced penalties in the event that the criminal conduct causes property damages or injuries to another. If substantial bodily injury or death is involved, the defendant will in most cases be charged with a felony offense, where prison time is possible.
None of these charges are to be taken lightly. Many people face potential jail time for the very first time due to a criminal traffic offense, without having any other criminal history. This may be your first time in the criminal justice system, and you may have never dreamed you would end up with criminal charges being brought against you, especially from a traffic offense.
Through years of experience in handling hundreds if not thousands of these cases in South Florida, we provide you with intelligent advice as to the best way to handle your case. We make every effort to get your matter dismissed when possible, and we act with a single goal in mind: to minimize your risk of spending time in jail or prison. We know how to investigate the facts, undermine the state's case against you, and negotiate with the prosecution.
Hit and Run Law in Florida
The State of Florida takes Hit and Run violations very seriously. The charge is Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and the seriousness of the charge depends on the facts of each case. You are required to stop as soon as possible after any accident in which you or your vehicle is involved. If you fail to do so and property is damaged, you face up to 60 days in jail, probation, and fines. From this point, the same charge becomes more serious.
If there is an injury associated with an accident in which you were involved and you don't stay and provide legally required information to all parties and any police, you can be charged with a felony and be facing up to 5 years in state prison. If there is a death, you could be facing up to 30 years in state prison.
Reckless Driving in Florida
Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. This charge is punishable with jail time, probation, fines, court costs, and driver's license penalties. This charge is sometimes utilized as a negotiated resolution to resolve a DUI case, without sentencing the defendant to all the statutory penalties required by a DUI conviction.
Felony DUI in Florida
There are four primary situations where the DUI charge can be filed as a Felony. The common felony cases include:
- DUI where there is a serious bodily injury involved
- DUI manslaughter where a death is involved
- A third arrest for DUI within 10 years from any prior DUI
- A fourth or subsequent arrest for DUI
When your case is charged as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor, you could be facing significant time in jail or prison, and sometimes for a minimum mandatory term based on the circumstances. Worse, many of the statutory penalties are non-negotiable if you enter a plea of no contest as charged, and the court may not withhold adjudication, meaning you could become a convicted felon.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer may, depending on the facts, be able to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor, or in certain circumstances, dismissed entirely. You should consult an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested to preserve your legal options.
At The Law Offices of Eric A Kay, we have had substantial experience in dealing with criminal traffic matters, including DUI. We will provide you with a free consultation, hear your individual facts, and determine what defenses or mitigating facts are available to you. Call The Law Offices of Eric A Kay today to discuss your case. There is no charge for the initial consultation.