Is Reckless Driving a Felony?

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What Is Reckless Driving?

Driving recklessly refers to operating a motor vehicle in a speed or manner which shows a disregard for property and human life. Common types of driving recklessly include operating a vehicle:

Is Driving Recklessly the Same as Driving Carelessly?

No. Driving carelessly refers to driving without caution. In other words, a driver is not paying attention. Driving carelessly may involve running a red light, distracted driving and failing to use a turn signal.

Is Reckless Driving a Felony?

Whether reckless driving is a felony depends on state law. For example, reckless driving is known as a wobbler in Virginia. A wobbler refers to the fact driving reckless charge can be a misdemeanor or felony. The facts typically dictate the charge.

A Virginia driver may be charged with misdemeanor reckless driving if he drives more than 80 miles over the speed limit. However, if he injures or kills someone while driving more than 80 miles over the speed limit, the charge can be upgraded to a felony.

In Washington state, reckless driving is only a misdemeanor. A driver in Washington must be shown to have a wanton or willful disregard for human life and property in order to be found guilty. The terms “willful” and “wanton” means the driver knew he could cause harm to a person or damage property, but chose to drive recklessly anyway.

What Are the Penalties for a Felony Reckless Driving Charge?

The punishment for driving recklessly varies from state to state. It usually includes:

Should I Contact an Attorney about a Driving Recklessly Charge?

Potential penalties for reckless driving depends on if it is a felony or misdemeanor charge. In both cases, you will need legal advice. You should schedule a meeting with a criminal defense attorney to determine your defense strategy and to potentially get your case dismissed.

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Last Modified: 11-16-2016 11:40 PM PST

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