When you are charged with a DUI the hope is that the case will completely go away. This does happen but is not typical. As a former Daytona Beach DUI prosecutor I have nolle prosequied a few DUI cases. I have watched and participated in motions that resulted in the Daytona Beach DUI case being dropped or dismissed. I had it happen to me as a prosecutor and have achieved it as a defense attorney. The reality is that most Daytona Beach DUI cases do not end up going away completely. In 2010 358 DUI cases in Volusia County out of 1942 were nolle prosequid, dismissed or found not guilty. The total comes out to just over 18%. The numbers are deceptive because of the way Volusia County DUI cases are charged and prosecuted. If a driver hits two vehicles they would be charged with two Daytona Beach DUIs with property damage. The officer has to do this so the owner of the damaged vehicles can get restitution. The prosecutor can request that the defendant agree to restitution in exchange for a dismissal of one of the DUI cases. That is a common resolution for that type of multiple DUI in Daytona Beach and throughout Volusia County. Statistically speaking the case that was dropped goes in the books as a nolle prosequi even though the driver was convicted of a Daytona Beach DUI. Another common scenario is that a driver is charged with DUI property damage and DUI. DUI property damage is a more serious misdemeanor DUI. If the driver agrees to be financially responsible for the damage the state will often drop the DUI property damage for a plea to DUI. This accounts for a large portion of the 18%. My estimate of cases that go away completely from my time as a Daytona Beach DUI prosecutor would be 5% or less. Out of approximately 300 Daytona Beach DUI cases I prosecuted probably about 10 of them were completely dropped.
In Central Florida counties have various ways of prosecuting DUI cases. Some counties follow a no reduction policy. This usually ends up being no reduction unless they have to reduce to avoid losing. The problem with no reduction policies are they base reductions on legal defenses instead of the actions of the individual accused. Other counties offer diversion programs. The diversion is nice but it can be excessive at times in low blow cases. It is hard to turn down an opportunity to have the case dismissed but the diversion carries with it substantial cost. The enhanced diversion is more expensive and difficult. If the state can prove their case in a Daytona Beach DUI the desired resolution is a Daytona Beach wet reckless. The wet reckless is not much different than a DUI but does have some major benefits. It does not require the statutory impound of your vehicle. It also doesn’t criminally suspend your license. When your license is criminally suspended after the administrative suspension you will have to pay additional fees to get your hardship back. It is not enhanced the same way a DUI is. Although a second reckless driving conviction can be enhanced. It is not as hard on your insurance as a DUI. These factors make a reckless driving a much better resolution than a DUI.
Is a Daytona Beach wet reckless a real charge or is it made up? Reckless driving is a real charge. The statute does not refer to a wet reckless but does have language that requires additional sanctions if alcohol is involved with the reckless driving. Florida Statute 316.192(5) states that In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, if the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical substances set forth in s. 877.111, or substances controlled under chapter 893 contributed to a violation of this section, the court shall direct the person so convicted to complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation as provided in s. 316.193(5) within a reasonable period of time specified by the court. The statute has language requiring a DUI class if drugs, chemicals or alcohol contribute to the Daytona Beach reckless driving.
Generally the requirements for a Daytona Beach reckless driving reduction from a DUI are: a breath test below .13%, no prior DUI or DUI reductions, no aggravating circumstances. Additional factors that are considered are the strength of the case. Will the conviction have an excessive impact on the accused when compared with society as a whole (A simple negative impact like a can't go without being able to drive is not enough it has to be something that is abnormally harsh on the accused in comparison to society as a whole). If a prior DUI was so remote it might be overlooked (20 or 30 years remote). If the breath test is over .13% but below .15% a reckless is a possibility if a valid basis can be shown (as a former prosecutor it is hard to penalize someone who cooperates for being just over the limit). These are my observations and are not recorded as office policies.
Why is .15% a limit on Daytona Beach reckless driving reductions? It is not an absolute limit. If the case has legal issues or other equitable reasons a reckless is still possible but much less likely. There are two reasons resistance to Daytona Beach reckless driving reductions increases for Daytona Beach DUIs with a BAC over .15%. The first reason is the level of impairment is higher above .15%. In the eyes of a prosecutor the driver is less sympathetic. The second reason is that if the prosecutor stipulates below .15% they will save the driver around $1500. This reduces the case to a less expensive and less serious Daytona Beach DUI. It allows the prosecutor to give something without reducing the Daytona Beach DUI to reckless driving. This is not a hard and fast rule but is a combination of my experience and feelings as a former prosecutor combined with observations from current and former Daytona Beach DUI prosecutors.
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Pitts
747 S Ridgewood Ave., #105
Daytona Beach, FL 32114