When drivers fail to follow the rules of the road, they can be dangers to both themselves and others. The laws that govern driving can assign various violations to drivers, such as speeding, failure to yield, etc. The term reckless driving is a more serious violation and can be punished as a misdemeanor, which can mean jail time in some situations. Read to learn more about what you need to know about a reckless driving charge.
What is Meant by Reckless Driving
The term "reckless" must fulfill the legal requirements of the law depending on the state. In most cases, drivers who drive without proper regard for the safety of themselves and others are said to be reckless. Here are some common ways that this offense is interpreted:
- Driving carelessly.
- Driving with wanton disregard.
- Driving with immoderate speed.
- Driving in a negligent manner.
- Driving in a manner that a reasonable person would not.
Common Reckless Driving Situations
To help provide a better idea of what reckless driving might mean, here are some common situations that might violate the law:
- Driving a vehicle with improper lights or no headlights on.
- Driving while texting, using a cell phone, and other distractions.
- Driving at an excessive speed. In some states, driving a certain number of miles over the speed limit is automatically a reckless driving violation in addition to the speeding charge.
- Failing to move over for emergency vehicles.
- Running stop signs and red lights.
- Failing to account for road conditions by reducing speed. Even if you are technically obeying the posted speed limit, if it is foggy, icy, snowing, raining, etc., drivers must reduce their speed.
Punishments for Reckless Driving
While the exact fines and other punishment can vary according to state law and other conditions, you can expect to be, at the very least, ticketed for reckless driving. More serious offenses carry the potential for far worse punishments. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you can spend up to a year in jail. Other potential punishments include the following:
- Court costs.
- Financial restitution to the victims of your reckless driving. For example, if you caused an accident and occupants in your vehicle or the other vehicle were hurt, you may owe restitution.
- Community service.
- Safety education classes.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, you need a criminal defense attorney to assist you in your case. The outcome varies and the consequences can be serious, so seek help as soon as possible.