A lot of people here in Florida have perceptions about what happens during and after a DUI stop. In a lot of cases, people think that if they are pulled over by the police and are found to have consumed alcohol that they will immediately be arrested and charged with a DUI. These same people may also believe that once charged with a DUI, their life is completely ruined because the charge will stay on their record for a number of years, wreaking havoc on their freedom if they are convicted again.
While some of this is true, it's important for our Orlando readers to know that a DUI stop doesn't always lead to a DUI conviction. In roughly 40 percent of cases, DUI charges are reduced to lesser charges like reckless driving. Sometimes, charges are dismissed altogether.
But why are 40 percent of DUI charges in Florida dropped or reduced, you may ask? Well, this has a lot to do with the specifics of the case. But because each person's case is different, there is no catch-all answer. Prosecutors might choose leniency if this is your first drunk-driving arrest or because it's been more than 10 years since your last DUI charge. In other cases, the amount of alcohol in your system could become a factor.
Just as charges can be reduced, they can also be dismissed as well. This can happen because of any number of reasons including lack of evidence, faulty breath test readings or even procedural errors that led to a violation of a person's civil rights.
Even though it may sound like you have a good chance of seeing your DUI charge dropped or reduced, it's critical that you know this may not be possible without the help of a lawyer. Most people don't know the law well enough to properly defend themselves against aggressive prosecutors or don't know the right way to ask for leniency. A skilled DUI attorney does though and oftentimes becomes the invaluable tool you need in order to get the best outcome in your case.
Source: WTSP News, "DUI arrests often have charges downgraded, dismissed," Mike Deeson, April 29, 2015