What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

reckless driving

While most people might assume that a DUI charge is the most severe offense out there, reckless driving is also one of the most negative offenses on the road. From 2003 to 2007, aggressive driving was an element in over 50% of vehicle crashes.

The study showed that speeding and driving under the influence were the two most common examples of aggressive driving.

In 2016, speeding killed over 10,000 people in the United States. Even only a 10 mph increase in driving speed increases the risks of a crash by over 9%.

But almost everyone speeds at one point or another, and sometimes reckless driving happens by mistake. So what is reckless driving? And what are the fines and sanctions associated with it?

What Constitutes as Reckless Driving?

If you’re charged with reckless driving, it’s because the officer who charged you deemed that your driving demonstrated indifference or irreverence to the property or safety of others. 

It’s a much more serious offense than say, improper driving or careless driving. A reckless driving charge conviction can result in some hefty fines, driver’s license suspension, or even imprisonment.

Some of the reckless driving behaviors associated with fatal crashes in 2017 are as follows:

  • Failure to yield to the right of way
  • Distracted by eating or talking on the phone
  • Driving too fast
  • Under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications
  • Failure to obey signals, traffic signs, or police officer
  • Operating a vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner
  • Drowsy, fatigued, ill, blacked out, or asleep
  • Vision obscured due to weather, lights, or environment
  • Driving the wrong way or on the wrong side of the road
  • Swerving due to slippery surface, wind, etc.
  • Making an improper turn

Some other examples of aggressive driving are failing to signal, racing, failure to follow traffic signs or warnings, passing where it’s prohibited, and driving on a road shoulder, sidewalk, or median.

You might forget to signal one day, and only get charged with careless driving. But depending on the result of your carelessness, and the intention with which you drive, forgetting to signal can also result in a reckless driving charge.

What Are Potential Charges and Fines Associated with Reckless Driving?

If you received a reckless driving ticket, you might need a traffic ticket attorney, depending on the severity of your charges.

Reckless driving in Florida is a criminal traffic offense that requires a court appearance. Careless driving is a civil traffic offense which is much less serious.

If you roll through a stop sign and cause an accident, you may be charged with careless driving. But if you rolled through that same stop sign going 80 mph, you’d likely be charged with reckless driving.

If you’re charged with reckless driving in Florida, some of the possible penalties are:

  • Up to 90 days in jail, if convicted
  • Fines of $25 to $500, if convicted
  • Up to 6 months of jail and fines up to $5,000, if it’s a second offense
  • A first-degree misdemeanor, if your driving caused damage to someone’s property
  • Third-degree felony, if your driving caused injury to someone else

All of these examples are results of reckless driving convictions. While you may have received a ticket, you won’t necessarily be charged.

In addition to consequences enforced by the law, your insurance company may opt to drop you or raise your rates significantly. 

What Are Some Defenses to Reckless Driving?

Every situation is different, and your traffic ticket attorney will use the details of your particular case to try and reduce your charges or get you off the hook completely. 

While circumstances vary, some of the more common defenses used in the face of reckless driving charges, are:

  • Your behavior was not willful or wanton
  • Your driving patterns weren’t knowing or intentional
  • There were extenuating circumstances
  • There was no one nearby to endanger
  • There was no property around to damage
  • You weren’t the person driving the vehicle in question
  • The witnesses weren’t reliable
  • The charging officer’s assessment isn’t concrete enough without supporting evidence
  • Your charges are based on an allegation of an excess of speed

While every state is different, in Florida, excessive speed on its own is not enough to constitute as reckless driving.

What Should You Do If You’re Charged?

Maybe you were speeding and ran a red because you had to get to someone you love and fast.

Perhaps you forgot to use your blinker because your mind was racing with work details and as a result, you ran over someone’s mailbox.

Maybe you weren’t the one driving your vehicle when a reckless driving ticket was issued. 

While reckless driving is an endangerment to society, sometimes it can be chalked up to carelessness, distraction, or several other things which may affect someone’s ability to drive safely.

If you’re charged with reckless driving, your lawyer will be able to use every possible detail to your advantage. A traffic ticket attorney will use their knowledge and resources to reduce your charges so that you can live a normal life.

Hire a Traffic Attorney for Reckless Driving

If you’re panicked about what to do and the damage those charges could cause, don’t hesitate to call someone who will be with you every step of the way.

Reckless driving is a serious offense that may significantly affect your life, your job, and your bank account. Everyone makes mistakes, and while you may have been at fault, you may not be deserving of the potential charges you’re facing.

If you’re worried, contact us to see what we can do to help. You may upload your ticket and provide some basic information here so that we can discuss how to help.