The Denson Firm

Cruisin’ For a Bruce-in: Victim Impact Panel

In Cruisin’ For A Bruce-in, we ride along with Florida Attorney Bruce Denson as he gives brief explanations on Florida Law and what to do in common legal situations.


Here's everything you need to know about Victim Impact Panel in DUI cases.

Often in the resolution of DUI cases, particularly ones where there was an automobile accident, the judge is going to require you to attend a Victim Impact Panel.

A Victim Impact Panel is a one-night class, it's put on by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and it essentially talks about the impact of DUI on other people and parties. You're going to hear from people who have had loved ones killed by DUI drivers or people that have been injured in DUI accidents. It's, again, a one-night class, I think it costs about $35, your probation officer or your attorney can help you get registered for the class in Pinellas County.

We now have one that you can do online, which is very good. So, if you can't attend the session that is offered live once a month, there is an online option now, but I recommend you go to the live one. it's a little bit shorter, and I think it's a little bit better, but if it's not an option for you, the online one is fine as well. What's important is to get it done because it may well be a requirement of your probation. So, we can help you get that set up and accomplished.

Like everything else: Get there early, be dressed appropriately, don't have any alcohol in your system, okay, and be open to the message there, and I think you'll find you get get a little something out of it.


Further Thoughts

When facing a criminal charge in the State of Florida, a defendant typically has many options. During your formal reading of charges, called the arraignment, the defendant is asked to respond to the charges by entering a plea: Not Guilty, No Contest (Nolo Contendere), or Guilty. Now, not entering a plea is also an option, but under Florida law (RULE 3.170. PLEAS), a plea of not guilty will be entered by the court on your behalf.

What needs to be considered is the consequence of each plea. If you enter a plea of not guilty, your case will go to trial. You will get to make your case that you did not commit the crime, call witnesses, and cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses. If you enter a plea of guilty, the judge will immediately adjudicate the case or may choose to withhold adjudication, and you will be sentenced. The outcoming of your sentencing is completely dependent on the crime you have committed, your criminal record, and the opinions of the judge presiding over the case. Lastly, you may enter a plea of nolo contender or no contest, which does not admit nor deny the charges but agree to be adjudicated.

In many cases, especially when you hire an attorney, the prosecution may offer what is called a "Plea Bargain" or plea deal. These deals typically reduce the charges against you in exchange for a guilty plea.


If you or a loved one are dealing with a criminal charge, we can help. Contact The Denson Firm immediately for a Free Consultation. We can help. Contact The Denson Firm immediately for a Free Consultation.

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