Reckless driving is an offense that can lead to trouble for you if you are cited. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor, and it is defined as using your vehicle in a way that unreasonably endangers others or interferes with the use of a public highway.
This definition might seem a little confusing, but you can break it down further to get a better idea about what might constitute reckless driving. For example, some common traffic violations that might lead to reckless driving charges include:
- Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Weaving or swerving in traffic
- Hitting or coming close to hitting pedestrians or cyclists
- Going more than 80 mph on any roadway
- Speeding 20 mph or more over the speed limit
- Going the wrong way on the road
Interestingly, many of these violations can be cited with a ticket instead of being reported as reckless driving, but officers have full discretion in all cases. So, if you were going 20 mph over the speed limit but were moving with traffic, an officer might cite you for speeding and decide not to report reckless driving. On the other hand, if you were driving the wrong way on the highway while going 20 mph over the speed limit, they might decide to stop you for reckless driving.
The penalties for reckless driving
A first-time offense for reckless driving can lead to imprisonment for up to 30 days along with fines. Second offenses within 18 months may lead to up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $525.
Additionally offenses could lead to up to six months in jail and fines exceeding $1,000.
What do you do if you’re charged with reckless driving?
If you are charged with reckless driving, it’s important to build a defense. You have an opportunity to fight the charges and to work to reduce or eliminate the penalties you could face.
For example, it might be possible to get a reckless driving charge for speeding reduced to a speeding ticket, or you might be able to get the charges dismissed for going the wrong way on a confusing one-way street. Your defense matters, so it’s a good idea to focus on building it as soon as you can.