When it comes to traffic infractions, reckless driving is pretty serious. Driving in a reckless manner is more than just breaking the law by failing to signal; it can rise to the level of a misdemeanor and incur more severe punishments like jail time. To find out more about this serious traffic offense, read on.
Charged with Reckless Driving
If you disobey traffic laws to the extent that you are placing yourself or others in harm's way, you could be charged with reckless driving. There are several interpretations, and some common infractions can be enhanced with a reckless driving charge. For example, driving over the speed limit is bad and you could get an expensive ticket if you are caught. If you drive a certain number of miles over the speed limit, it turns into reckless driving.
Examples of Reckless Driving
What constitutes this charge varies depending on the state, but take a look at some driving situations that might call for a reckless driving charge:
- Speeding over a certain speed limit (some states use 25 mph over the speed limit and some states use speeds that reach in excess of 80 or so mph—it varies by state).
- Having no headlights on at night or when conditions merit.
- Driving while using a cell phone or other distractions. Texting while driving is viewed as particularly reckless behavior.
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions.
- Running red lights and stop signs.
- Failing to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles.
- Failing to stop for law enforcement. Reckless driving may be among the least of your worries if you give chase to law enforcement, but you can expect it to be tacked on to the other charges.
- Weaving in and out of traffic excessively.
Punishments Can Be Severe
If you are thought to have put lives at risk for your driving behavior, you could end up spending some time in jail, having your driver's license suspended, and paying very high fines and court costs. If your driving ended up causing physical harm or property damage, you could be asked to pay victim restitution. Restitution is based on medical bills, funeral costs, loss of property, and more. You can usually expect to be ordered to attend driver's education classes and perform community service in addition to the fees if no jail is ordered.
As you can tell, reckless driving is considered a serious charge, and you will need the help of a criminal defense attorney to help you through the legal process. Seek help as soon as possible if you are facing these or any other charges.