I was recently pulled over and charged with dui, speeding, and reckless driving in Broward County, Florida. It is the first time I've had a dui. What are the chances that I will be sent to jail?
Personal Injury Lawyer
First time DUI's unlike subsequent ones ( depending on when they occur), do not require a mandatory jail sentence. While the judge has the discretion to impose jail time, in most first time cases ( especially on a change of plea) no jail is imposed. That being said, you should consult with a local attorney who specializes in handling DUI cases to discuss the facts of your case, any possible defenses and whether you have a case which you may want to request the State to consider a reduced charge, or set for trial. Good Luck
Criminal Defense Attorney
The minimum penalties for a FL DUI do not require jail, BUT, depending on the facts, the State Attorney has discretion to extend any offer he/she wishes. The reality down here in South Florida, with few exceptions, is that jail is only an issue on a first offense if the case is going to go to trial. The fact that you have a reckless driving charge attached to the DUI may influence your plea offer as well.
All the above said, every case is different and discussing the possible penalties is frustrating without knowing the specific facts of your situation. There are many possible defenses available to DUI defendants depending on the circumstances, and a local qualified criminal defense attorney can advise as to the proper route to take.
Criminal Defense Attorney
The chances decrease significatly when you hire a lawyer experienced in DUI. The reasons are not always obvious to the client. Clients do not know the various mechanisms to break down the case. Clients do not know about depositions, discovery, video, rules the police must follow, expert witnesses, etc. and unfortunately either do many lawyers. Do yourself a favor and hire a DUI attorney. How do you know what to ask? Have they recieved any special training, how many DUI's have they handled, are they recognized by the National College of DUI Defense? The chances of going to jail on a first dui is rare if you accept a plea but our office never recommends taking a plea unless all other avenues are explored.
While jail is not mandatory on a first DUI, you should be aware that there ARE many mandatory sanctions which the judge MUST impose should you enter a plea or are found guilty of DUI. The maximum penalties for a DUI in Florida are 180 days in jail, and $2,000 fine (for over a .15). The REQUIRED MINIMUM penalties are a $500 fine on a blood alcohol level under .15, 10 day vehicle impoundment, supervised probation up to 12 months, court costs (@$500), cost of prosecution, DUI school and treatment as recommended, 50 hours of community service, and 6 month drivers license suspension. Additional penalties apply if your blood alcohol reading was above a .15, such as a 6 month interlock device and $1,000 fine. Successful completion of your probation conditions will be necessary to obtain your full license in the future.
Jail time on a first DUI is usually reserved for unusual facts or factors relating to a case. Since you mention speeding and reckless driving, those factors should be considered by an experienced DUI attorney (preferably from the area of your arrest) before you make a decision to plea; additionally, you may have legal defenses you are unaware are applicable.
Best wishes for a successful resolution of this matter!