What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is the more severe form of the charge of careless driving. Reckless driving is defined as wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. The mental state of the offender is assessed to determine the charge, and reckless driving is considered more aggravated conduct than careless driving. This distinction between reckless driving and careless driving is often made by a law enforcement officer who may not have actually witnessed the driving. If you are cited for a more serious traffic violation such as reckless driving, there is a possibility of jail time, which is all the more reason to discuss the matter with an attorney.
Penalites for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is considered a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. It will earn 8 penalty points on your driver’s license, twice as a many as a careless driving citation. Reckless driving is also considered a Habitual Traffic Offense. Multiple Habitual Traffic Offense convictions can lead to a multi-year license suspension even if you have not accumulated enough points in 1 year for a points suspension. A subsequent conviction on a reckless driving charge requires mandatory fines of up to $1000 and/or jail time of a minimum of ten days, up to 6 months. If your driving is found to be the proximate cause of injury, property damage, or death, then the charge may become a class 1 misdemeanor.
Fighting a Reckless Driving Charge
Reckless driving is a very subjective charge, compared to black and white violations like speeding or running a red light. What may be considered reckless behavior by one officer may not fit that definition for another officer. Sometimes, inexperienced police officers confuse Reckless Driving with the lesser charge of Careless Driving. Some officers even make charging decisions based on emotion, such as not liking the attitude of the driver, so they tack on a more serious charge. Make no mistake- Reckless Driving is a very serious criminal charge that can impact a person's ability to keep driving.