The Administrative Suspension: Time is of the Essence
When you are arrested for DUI in the state of Florida, it triggers two separate procedures: a criminal prosecution, and the administrative suspension of your driver's license. Once you are arrested for DUI, the clock is ticking. You have 10 calendar days from the date of the arrest to file a request with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) for a review of your case to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver's license. If you fail to timely file this request, you will waive a very valuable right. Even if you are not convicted of the criminal case, you will have your driver's license administratively suspended while the criminal case is pending. Florida law allows for you to have a formal hearing to contest the sufficiency of the procedures followed which ultimately led to your arrest and administrative suspension. The information obtained at these hearings can be invaluable to your criminal case as well.
Motions to Suppress Evidence for Violation Of Search and Seizure or Miranda Rights
It doesn't matter how many drinks you had; or how high your breath test was; or how poorly you performed on the field sobriety tests; or how bad your driving was: If law enforcement violated your right to an unreasonable search and seizure, or violated your Miranda Rights; you can do something about it. You can file a motion to suppress the evidence illegally obtained by law enforcement. If successful, that evidence cannot be used in the prosecution of your case. For example, if you were stopped illegally, the entire arrest can be suppressed.
Reduction of DUI Charge to a Reckless Driving Charge
Frequently, if the facts or evidence of your case are such that a motion to suppress can be filed or prevails in court, or that the State's case is weak, this can lead to the prosecutor concluding that reducing your charge to reckless driving is necessary or appropriate. There may be a myriad of other factors which may convince the prosecutor that a reduction to a reckless driving charge is warranted. A reckless driving conviction is ultimately better than a DUI conviction for a number of reasons including the fact that your driver's license will not be suspended, and you will not have a DUI conviction which may used in the future to enhance a sentence on a subsequent DUI arrest.
In the state of Florida, you have the right to a jury trial to contest your DUI charge. If you are unable to resolve your case through the normal course of litigation and plea discussions, and, if the facts are favorable to you, a trial may be the best way to resolve your case.