Driving is a part of normal life and every state has laws to govern people’s behavior when driving. Vehicles have the potential to cause significant damage so driving recklessly is a crime in all states in the country.
What is Reckless Driving?
Simply stated, reckless driving is the operating of a vehicle in a way that shows negligence to the safety of other people and property. Each state will have different definitions of reckless driving which will influence their laws.
The reckless driving charge can arise in many situations. A driver’s actions will ultimately be decided by the arresting officer, the judge and the jury.
The court will weigh a number of factors when deciding on a case of reckless driving. Such factors will include the weather, time of day, condition of the vehicle, presence of obstacles among others.
Reckless driving is not a matter of making a mistake when driving. It involves knowingly disregarding safety procedures and risk that of other people and property. Therefore, a prosecutor has to show that a person was beyond negligent to prove reckless driving.
Reckless driving can also be charged if there weren’t any people around. A driver only has to endanger their life, or risk damage to their property to qualify as a reckless driver.
Reckless driving may also include certain situations whereby common sense is ignored to the detriment of the safety of others. For example, speeding at a crossing is considered to be ‘per se’ reckless driving.
Consequences of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is a very solemn traffic offense. It is considered to be a criminal misdemeanor offense in almost all states. If the accident involves factors like injuries or death, some states may charge reckless driving as a felony.
Penalties for reckless driving are several and include jail or prison time. You may serve up to one year of jail time if you are found guilty of reckless driving. When charged as a felony, you may have to spend more than a year in jail.
Fines are the most common penalties associated with reckless driving convictions. The degree of the fine will depend on the severity of the case and the state where the violation occurred. The amount is usually between a hundred and several thousand dollars.
Probation is a possible consequence of reckless driving but it happens rarely. Probation is an interesting punishment of reckless driving since you are required to regularly visit your probation officer and if you violate your probation, you may be forced to serve a prison sentence.
License Suspension is mandatory in most states if you are convicted of reckless driving. The period is about 30 days.
The revocation of a license is also a real possibility. It happens when there are other traffic violations, particularly reckless driving in the driver’s past.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been in a car accident, you should contact a Grand Junction Car Accident Lawyer as soon as possible. They are the best chance you have of ensuring your reckless driving punishment is not severe.