The last thing any driver wants to see is flashing blue lights behind them, signaling to pull them over because they were speeding. Speeding tickets usually mean a hefty fine, points on your driving record, and increases insurance premiums. However, most states have enacted laws that increase the type of penalty a driver can face if they are traveling far faster than the posted limit. In these situations, a driver can face a with a reckless driving charge, which is considered a criminal offense and not a traffic violation.
In addition to excessive speed, a driver can also be charged with reckless driving if they text while they are behind the wheel, tailgate the vehicle in front of them, or engage in lane jumping. In some states, if a driver is charged with more than one reckless driving offense within a certain time period, their driving privileges are suspended for a period of time.
So, what are the rules regarding whether a driver can be charged with reckless driving? Unfortunately, there are many driving behaviors that do not have definitive definitions but are based on the discretion of law enforcement. In the majority of state statutes, any driving behavior that a driver engages in that puts other people or animals at risk for harm or put property at risk of serious damage can be deemed reckless driving.
There is a difference between a driver who is negligent and a driver who is reckless. For example, a driver who is driving while talking on their cell phone and gets into a car accident would likely be considered a negligent driver. However, a driver who disobeys a school bus that is stopped with lights flashing and stop sign out and passes the bus on the left because they do not want to stop and wait would be guilty of reckless driving. The driver knew (or should have known) that disobeying traffic rules that require every driver to stop under these circumstances put everyone on the road at risk of being injured or killed because of their actions.
Most reckless driving offenses are charged as misdemeanors and convictions can result in fines, license suspension, license revocation, and jail time. If a victim is injured or killed as a result of the driver’s actions or there is significant property damage, the driver would likely be charged with felony reckless driving and face even more significant penalties if convicted.
Contact a Reckless Driving Attorney for Help
If you are facing reckless driving charges, the first step to take is to contact a criminal offenses attorney in DC. Your attorney will know exactly what type of penalties you may be facing should you be convicted and will work have experience in building a defense to fight against these charges. A reckless driving conviction could impact your driving record, ability to get vehicle insurance, and more. Call a law office today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.
Thanks to The Law Office of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and speeding vs reckless driving.