Biography: Good afternoon Reddit! I am Florida criminal defense attorney Doug Leifert ( at Leifert & Leifert. As a former prosecutor and a current criminal defense lawyer, I have an abundance of knowledge and experience when it comes to our criminal justice system. This past year, Florida passed a law that allows someone with a first time DUI charge to have it reduced to a reckless driving charge. With the winter holidays fast approaching, chances are we'll be seeing an uptick in DUI arrests over the next few months. I will be answering questions on first-time DUI offenders having a chance for their charge to become a reckless driving charge.

Here is my [proof] (, my [website] (, and information on the [topic] “Lawmaker combines 'accountability' and 'compassion' in drunk driving bill” - Tallahassee Democrat

Disclaimer: The purpose of this Ask Me Anything is to discuss laws surrounding DUI charges in Florida and what your options are for a first time charge. My responses should not be taken as legal advice.

This AMA lasted from 12PM - 1PM on November 10. If you are looking for answers to any legal questions regarding DUIs, please feel free to contact me.

Comments: 1028 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

Byebyebeckham320 karma

What's the difference in penalties in Florida for a first time DUI offense and a reckless driving charge?

DLeifert132 karma


Thank for the question. I would need to know more specifics about the case to give you a better answer. Generally, for a Reckless, there should not be any conviction or loss of license with a first offense reckless as opposed to a first offense DUI. Each case is different though...

Big_Willyy01138 karma

If the individual is convicted of a second DUI charge, would this have any impact on the first DUI charge that was reduced to reckless driving? For example, would it then revert back to a DUI charge, or would it remain a reckless driving charge?

DLeifert223 karma

Hi Big Willy;

Once the first DUI is reduced it is done forever. They might treat you harder on the second arrest since it is really not your first, however. They will know that you got a berak the first time and will think that you didnt learn your lesson and treat you harder than the first time.

Byebyebeckham131 karma

What's your recommendation regarding taking a breathalyzer when you're stopped/ does that play into whether your charge can be reduced?

DLeifert272 karma

Hello again Beckham, Florida gives you one free refusal, we suggest that you use it if you find yourself being asked to give one and you have been drinking enough to register on the instrument. Second refusal in FL is a Misdemeanor. FIrst offense you should refuse and make it harder for them to prove your guilt, my opinion....thanks for the question

FatCat0115 karma

When you say "one free refusal", how long does that protection last? That is, do they have to let you leave (presuming they don't have other reasons to keep you)? Can they pull you over again down the road and demand you take one or get a misdemeanor? Radio another officer to pull you over a mile away?

DLeifert212 karma

They will not let you go. Whether you refuse or blow, the next stop is usually a holding cell at the Jail unless you are in the Hospital as a result of the incident

DLeifert34 karma

General advice is that if it is your first time being accused and you are not sure what you had to drink or are concerned that you would be over the limit, the you should NOT take the breath test.

CountDrewcula41 karma


DLeifert53 karma

Count Drew; Not that familiar with this case but i would bet it was a combo of a rock star lawyer and good facts, with the possibility of some mistakes by the Police investigators thrown in. Any combo of these could do the trick!

DLeifert10 karma

Good afternoon, lets talk about some DUI laws!

turbor327 karma

Would this only apply going forward or could someone appeal a previous no contest plea?

DLeifert7 karma

Usually going forward only....

Existing-Eggplant-497 karma

If someone were to be driving under the influence but cause no damage to anyone or any property, is there more of a chance for the charge to become a reckless driving charge?

DLeifert5 karma


DLeifert5 karma

Yes, the less aggravators on your case the greater the likleihood that you can get your charges reduced to a reckless. Accident cases, high breath and not first offenses are generaly disqualified unless we can find a loop hole for you :)

Thanks for the question hope that the answer helps.

wakejedi7 karma

Would Checking into rehab reduce charges? assuming there was no damage/accident...

DLeifert13 karma

Hello Jedi; Treatment will certainly help with the disposition ( result/sentence ) of the case but generally not reflectve on guilt or innocence. Treatment is a mitigator not a defense generally, Hope this answer helps. One should get help if they need it. It is generaly money in the bank towards any future sentence.....

GreenSprout20135 karma

Is it difficult to get insurance after a drunk driving conviction?

DLeifert6 karma

Hi Sprout;

Insurance can get pricey if you have a DUI on your DL record especially if there was an accident involved that resulted in damages or injury that an insurance company had to pay out damages for. If you cost them, they will try and get it back from you with increased rates or just drop your coverage. Happens all the time

Evening_Shine210 karma

What is the difference in penalties between a first time DUI charge and a second one? If they happen far apart (like 2-3 years in between each charge) how will that affect your case in comparison to if each charge were to happen within a few months of each other?

DLeifert0 karma

Hello Shine;

DUI is the more you get the worse it gets. Categories in FL are 2 within 5 years, three within ten of a prior ( Felony ) and 4th lifetime DUI is also a felony. The closer they are to each other the tougher the sentence will be unless we can come up with a plan to beat the case or mitigate your situation

GreenSprout2013-1 karma

Is it a good idea to attend driver improvement course before my hearing?

DLeifert0 karma

Depends whch course and what type of Hearing, can you please be more specific?

DLeifert0 karma

Hello again Sprout, depends which school and what type of hearing can you please clarify?

DLeifert-3 karma

DUI laws are tough in FL and you should consult an experienced attorney in these matters so you do not go it alone!

peachyfuzzle-4 karma


DLeifert2 karma

Hey Peachy; Depends on the facts of the case and your record. Second DUI suspensions are usually full term, but certain ones are not. Second convictoin within five years you will have to wait a year and have the interlock installed in FL prior to any reinstatement. You may also have to go into a DUI Superivision program as a condition of reinstatement to make suer that you are not drinking/using still

DLeifert-5 karma

Thank you for the questions, feel free to reach out direclty to me at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) or on our website