Can I Go to Jail for Fatigued Driving?

Man yawning while driving; How does fatigue affect driving?

When you’re headed home after a long day at work, one of the first things on your mind is likely getting some rest. After a hard day’s work, you’re likely exhausted and ready to shut your eyes. However, once you’re behind the wheel, you are expected to remain alert so that you can navigate the roads safely.

Despite the need for alertness, you are still tired when you hit the road. Entering traffic while tired may not be the safest decision, but is it illegal? Similar to DUIs, you could find yourself being pulled over under suspicion of drowsy driving. When faced with such a situation, it may be beneficial to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who may be able to protect your rights and help you fight against potential charges.

What Are the Penalties for Fatigued Driving?

While it’s doubtful that you will be jailed for driving while fatigued alone, getting behind the wheel when you’re too tired can result in needless police questioning, leading to a traffic violation. The penalties for traffic violations can range from less severe civil fines to much more severe criminal prosecution. 

You could face charges of reckless driving, a misdemeanor criminal traffic violation that carries a maximum 90-day jail sentence. When fatigued driving causes an accident, you could be held legally liable in civil court in addition to obtaining a traffic penalty and possibly being charged with a crime.

Is Driving While Fatigued Illegal?

Florida does not have specific laws that forbid driving while fatigued. However, drowsy drivers may be subject to some other traffic laws. Fatigued driving increases the likelihood that drivers may break Florida’s uniform traffic control regulations. If fatigue causes you to swerve or weave while driving, officers may see you and pull you over. 

When police pull you over, they may check to see if anything serious is wrong with you. They may also suspect you of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol because of your driving pattern. Even if you are not found to be under the influence of alcohol, you could still face charges. While there is no test for tiredness, it is possible to use evidence to demonstrate that you may not have been awake or alert enough to be driving.

What Are the Dangers of Driver Fatigue?

The health and safety of Americans are negatively impacted by fatigue. One of the most common consequences of fatigue is impaired cognition leading to driving accidents. To better understand fatigued driving and reduce related deaths and injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. 

Sleepiness can cause accidents at any time of day or night, according to NHTSA research, but three criteria are most frequently linked to incidents caused by a drowsy driver. Most drowsy driving accidents happen in the late afternoon or between midnight and six in the morning. They frequently include a single, unaccompanied driver who speeds off the road with no sign of braking on a rural road or highway.

Contact a Knowledgeable Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Everyone is aware that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can lead to criminal charges. You may not have ever considered that driving while fatigued could land you in jail, too. The best course of action in such a circumstance is to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford could provide you with the support you need to create a strong defense and refute the prosecution’s evidence. Attorney Hanaford has spent the last 38 years of his legal career defending the rights of clients in Florida just like you. He has years of experience battling complex criminal cases and obtaining favorable outcomes for his clients. 

He recognizes the pressure you are under. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how he may help you, call (239) 315-9750 or fill out a contact form today.

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