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Driving Recklessly Lawyers

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What Does “Driving Recklessly” Mean?

Driving Recklessly, or “Reckless Driving”, is a type of moving traffic violation.  It is generally defined by state law as driving with an intention, willful, or wanton disregard for public safety.  It doesn’t have to involve drunk driving, but sometimes the two violations overlap for the same incident.  A common example of driving recklessly is racing or trick riding in a residential area where many pedestrians are present. 

What are Some Forms of Driving Recklessly?

Driving recklessly is generally a more serious violation than distracted driving, careless driving, or driving without a license.  While the rules may vary by area, driving recklessly generally requires greater risks of harm than negligence; the defendant must know or have reason to know that their manner of driving presents a danger to the public.

Some common forms of driving recklessly may include:

  • Gross disregard for traffic rules (for example, running multiple red lights; speeding 25mph over the speed limit; joyriding, etc.)
  • Racing or drag racing
  • Doing tricks or stunts with the car or motorcycle (such as drifting, “wheelies”, handstands on the moving vehicle)
  • “Ghostriding”- letting the car roll without a driver inside controlling the car
  • Stopping suddenly during moving traffic

In some cases, using the vehicle in a threatening way like weapon may be considered driving dangerously, but is usually classified as the more serious crime of assault or even felony assault.

What are Some Consequences Associated With Driving Recklessly?

Driving recklessly can result in some very serious traffic and criminal charges, such as:

  • Traffic fines
  • Criminal misdemeanor charges
  • Higher fines (usu. up to $500)  and possible jail time for repeated offenses

In addition, driving recklessly can lead to a private civil lawsuit, especially where the defendant’s conduct directly caused an injury or property damage. 

Some defenses to driving recklessly may include: involuntary intoxication; avoiding harm or damage to others; and situations involving unavoidable emergencies. 

Do I Need an Attorney for Assistance With Driving Recklessly Charges?

The legal definition for driving recklessly can be different depending on the jurisdiction.  If you or a loved one of yours is facing legal charges for driving recklessly, you may want to contact an experienced lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can represent you during court hearings and can help you with the appropriate defense for your situation. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-28-2015 10:18 AM PDT

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