Reckless driving is the driving of a vehicle at a speed or in a manner that shows an utter disregard for the safety of persons or property. In other words, a reckless driver knows that he is driving dangerously but chooses to do so despite the risk. Depending on what state you live in, reckless driving is either a misdemeanor criminal offense or a misdemeanor traffic offense.
Depending on what state you live in, reckless driving is either a misdemeanor criminal offense or a misdemeanor traffic offense. Some states call the violation of reckless driving as “careless driving.”
What Are the Factors Reckless Driving?
Courts weigh in a number of factors to determine whether the driver was driving in a reckless manner. This includes:
- The time of day and whether the drivers driving was safe
- Weather conditions
- The presence of other people
- The driver’s act was beyond mere negligence
Common Types of Reckless Driving
Although state laws vary in defining reckless driving, some common examples of reckless driving include:
- Speeding excessively of over 25 miles over the posted speed limit
- Illegal passing (for example, passing on a curve or using the opposing traffic lane to pass)
- Weaving through traffic
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals
- Driving a vehicle known to have faulty brakes or other dangerous flaws
- Racing other cars
- Escaping from a police officer after a traffic stop
Consequences of Reckless Driving
Depending on whether a state considers reckless driving to be a misdemeanor criminal offense or a misdemeanor traffic offense, penalties for reckless driving can be fairly severe. Some of the possible consequences include:
- The reckless driving charge will go on your driving record
- You will have a criminal record
- You may be put on probation
- Your driving privileges may be suspended
- You may have to pay fines of up to $2,500 depending on your state's laws
- You may face jail time of up to one year
The severity of your penalties will depend primarily on your state's laws and your prior driving history.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Reckless Driving Charges?
If your state classifies reckless driving as a criminal offense, you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if your state classifies reckless driving as a driving offense, you can still benefit from the aid of a lawyer. A criminal defense attorney can represent you in court, negotiate a plea bargain, or seek to lower your fines or jail time.