While some police officers may let speeders or drivers who have a faulty tail light off the hook with a warning, other criminal traffic cases are much more serious and require an appearance in court. Offenses like DUIs, reckless driving, driving without a valid license, or knowingly driving with a suspended license can lead to a citation, and possibly, jail time.
It’s important to take note that while drivers who committed these crimes may not be arrested, the citation is the criminal charge and requires an appearance in court. A conviction on the citation is a criminal record, and a criminal conviction prevents expungement and sealing of the criminal record at a later date.
See some of the most common criminal traffic cases below, and some of the consequences that come with them.
One of the most well known criminal traffic cases is a DUI – driving under the influence. And while a drunk driving charge is extremely serious, an experienced attorney like Joseph Knape can provide tremendous help, especially if it’s the first time a driver has committed a DUI offense. Some potential punishments for a first-time offense are jail time, fines, community service, or suspension of the driver’s license. However, the penalties for a first-time offense are significantly less severe than a second-time charge, which not only carries jail time or fines but can also lead to vehicle impoundment. Having an attorney is essential in this case. After a third DUI, the case is now considered a felony DUI, which can be prosecuted by the state attorney and land the driver in prison for multiple years and in thousands of dollars in fines.
When it comes to a reckless driving charge, a couple of elements must be met. For example, in Orange County, it must be proven that the driver did drive a vehicle in Orange County, Florida, and they did so with willful or blatant disregard for the safety of other people or property. Occasionally, DUI charges may be reduced to what’s known as “wet reckless driving.” Reckless driving is often difficult to prove under Florida law, but it can carry a maximum punishment in Florida of 90 days in the county jail and a $500 fine unless the person has a prior offense of reckless driving, in which case the maximum punishment is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Driving without a valid license
Most of us know we need to have our license on us when driving – and for good reason. Driving with no valid license can lead to a criminal charge that requires a mandatory court appearance. The crime is categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor, and is punishable by a maximum $500 fine, and/or 60 days in jail and/or 6 months of supervised probation.
Driving with a suspended license
Driving with a suspended license is considered to be very dangerous, and it carries a much heavier punishment than driving without a valid license. If the driver receives multiple convictions on this charge, he or she could be subject to hefty fines and even loss of the license for years. An experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid extreme punishments or even get the charge reduced.
Are you facing a criminal traffic charge and need counsel? Call us at the offices of attorney Joseph Knape at 850-225-5563 or set up a free consultation online.