The Koger Building
Corner of 9th Street North & Gandy Blvd.
9721 Executive Center Drive North, Suite 120
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
St. Petersburg / Clearwater DUI Defense Lawyers
Many clients inquire about the possibility of having their pending DUI charge dropped to the lesser offense of “Reckless Driving.” The Pinellas County court system views this more accurately as having the charging document (uniform traffic citation) “amended” by the Prosecutor to reflect an entirely new and different offense.
– Why a Reckless Driving Charge is Better than a DUI –
To better understand how this is possible, consider the roles of each party:
Thus, contrary to common misconceptions, it is not the Judge who has the authority or discretion to drop your DUI charge to a Reckless Driving. Rather, only the prosecutor has the lawful ability to amend the charge.
How can an experienced attorney get the DUI charge reduced or amended down to Reckless Driving?
An experienced St. Petersburg / Clearwater DUI defense attorney can thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest to reveal every possible weakness in the prosecutor’s case. Your attorney may also be able to file motions with the court directed at suppressing or limiting admissible evidence. This could have the effect of further weakening the state’s case and provide you with an advantageous bargaining position to better secure the reduction of the charge.
Frank Russo and Marc Pelletier use a team approach when reviewing your videotape, police report and all documentation associated with breath testing. This includes confirming the certification of the Intoxilyzer operator and reviewing the calibration of the breath testing device. As former state prosecutors they personally reviewed hundreds of reduction requests. Both lawyers are certified intoxilyzer operators. They have also received certification in proper field sobriety testing. Valuable experience in these two areas can be critical in effectively addressing any weaknesses in the state’s evidence. (Learn more about Russo & Russo’s DUI Defense Credentials.)
If our office determines that your case is a suitable candidate for reduction, Frank and Marc will prepare a detailed letter to the prosecutor in the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office that:
1. Outlines deficiencies / weaknesses in the state’s case;
2. Includes applicable case law;
3. Highlights any personal background information that could help support the decision to amend your charge.
In the event a prosecutor’s supervisor should later scrutinize the file, the reduction letter also serves as a permanent record that justifies the decision to reduce the charge. Frank and Marc believe their detail oriented written arguments for reduction can be a highly effective tool that supplements their personal presentation.
DUI charges that are amended to Reckless Driving very often carry DUI type sanctions or penalties. In other words, our client may still have to attend DUI School, pay a fine, undergo an alcohol evaluation and perform community service hours. However, in return, our client would not suffer a formal DUI conviction. The prosecutor benefits because he avoids the possibility of an acquittal had the demonstrably weak DUI case proceeded on to trial.
This plea bargain (i.e., a reduction of the charge but coupled with DUI type sanctions) is often viewed as an equitable “middle ground.” In other words, if reduced, the client does not suffer the stigma associated with a DUI conviction. But, at the same time, the prosecutor is assured that the accused gets a valuable education on the perils of drinking and driving and confirms that he suffers from no addiction issues that could subject him later to another DUI arrest.
Every DUI case is different. At our free consultation, we can examine the following important aspects of your case. These include:
Many of these factors can play an important role in determining if your case is a good candidate for a reduction. When you meet with us, we will outline a plan of action that is designed to thoroughly investigate your case and uncover evidence that may be helpful to you.
Call us at (727) 578-0303 to schedule a free consultation.