Criminal Traffic Laws in Florida

Florida Criminal Traffic Offense: What You Need to Know

Criminal traffic crimes can be serious. Certain types of driving behavior can put life, limb, or property at risk. Our attorneys have high success with helping criminal traffic offenders get charges reduced or dismissed. However, the State of Florida does not take these charges lightly, so it’s important to know what defines each crime and the consequences you could face if convicted. Before you do anything, be sure to talk to one of our lawyers first.

Stay on top of your criminal traffic knowledge with these informative videos.


Criminal Traffic Offenses and How They’re Defined

  • DUI – Driving while under the influence. Commonly known as drunk driving, a DUI charge happens when an operator of a motor vehicle’s faculties are impaired, making a driver unable to safely operate their vehicle. You can read more about DUI felonies here, and DUI misdemeanors here
  • DWLS – Driving while license suspended. This occurs when a driver operates a vehicle with knowledge that their license is suspended.
  • Reckless Driving – Defined as: Any person who drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. 
  • Racing on the Highway – This can be a civil or criminal charge. This occurs when a traffic offender competitively drives their vehicle in a contest of speed or acceleration. You can also be charged with racing on the highway if you facilitate racing or you’re a participating passenger in the vehicle. Spectators may also be cited.
  • Vehicular Homicide – Defined by The Florida Statutes as: The killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another. 
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Often referred to as “hit and run,” this offense occurs when a driver of a vehicle fails to remain at the scene of the crash if death, bodily injury, property damage occurred.  
  • Attaching an Unassigned Tag – When a driver knowingly attaches a license plate that is not assigned to their vehicle by law.

Consequences of Criminal Traffic Offenses

  • DUI 
    • DUI penalties can be wide ranging depending on the specifics of the case.
    • Penalties can range from probation all the way up to significant prison sentences. 
    • All DUI cases carry mandatory driver’s license suspensions ranging from 6 months up to life.
  • DWLS
    • A first offense can result in up to 60 days of jail time, up to 6 months probation, and up to $500 in fines. A second offense can result in up to 1 year jail time and probation, and up to $1,000 in fines. A third offense can result in a Habitual Traffic Offender charge, prosecution as a felony, and license revocation for 5 years. Read more here on how your license can get suspended. 
  • Reckless Driving
    • Consequences for reckless driving are dependent on each circumstance and take into consideration bodily injury, property damage, and prior convictions. A first offense without injury or property damage can result in fines up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail, while a second offense can result in fines up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. If property damage is involved, one can face fines up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. If bodily injury has occurred, this is considered a third-degree felony with fines up to $5,000 and up to 5 years of jail time. 
  • Racing on the Highway
    • This is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in up to 1 year of jail time and $1,000 in fines for a first offense and at minimum $3,000 in fines for a second offense. Other consequences include driver license revocation, vehicle impoundment, and vehicle forfeiture. 
  • Vehicular Homicide
    • This is considered a second-degree felony and can result in up to 15 years imprisonment, and up to $10,000 in fines. 
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident
    • Convictions are dependent upon accidents involving injury, death, and property damage. If only property damage occurs, this is a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. If injury is involved, the offense is a third-degree felony which can result in up to five years in prison, probation and up to $5,000 in fines. If death is involved, the offense is a first-degree felony resulting in up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. 
  • Attaching an Unassigned Tag
    • This is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in up to 60 days of jail time or up to 6 months probation and up to a fine of $500.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal traffic crime, a Dale Carson Law attorney is available for a free consultation.

Our lawyers will make sure you understand your charges and may be able to help you avoid or lessen large fines, jail time, and license revocation. There is no charge or obligation for this initial consultation.  To schedule a free consultation with a Florida DUI attorney go to our Complimentary Consults page. Or call a Florida DUI attorney at Dale Carson Law today at 904-355-6777.