According to a recent survey by Wallethub, Colorado is the strictest U.S state when it comes to speeding and reckless driving. As such, it is vital to study the relationship between the two. When does speeding become reckless driving? Can a speeding ticket turn into a reckless driving citation?
Colorado has highly complex traffic laws. The speed limits vary widely even along the same stretch of road. Consequently, drivers, motorists, and cyclists often have trouble navigating the streets.
If you have been charged with reckless driving due to over speeding, call aGrand Junction Auto Accident Lawyer right away.
The Colorado Point System
Speeding violations in Colorado can add points to your driving record. These points tend to be proportional to the amount by which you had exceeded the limits. The more points you accumulate, the higher your chances of getting your license suspended.
The basic Colorado point system is:
- Driving 5 to 9 mph over an areas reasonable and prudent speed – 1-3 points
- 10 to 19 mph over speed – 4 points
- 20 to 39 mph over speed – 5 points
- 40 mph or more over speed – 6 points
Special situations covered in the point system include:
- Improper signaling or failure to signal – 2 points
- Failure to reduce your speed at special hazards – 3 points
- Improper passing – 4 points
- Reckless driving – 8 points
- Illegal racing – 12 points
The points you accrue are tallied over two years. Once you hit the 12-point mark, your license could be suspended.
Generally, a speeding ticket may carry two levels of punishment. It may either be a traffic infraction or an offense. The latter could lead to automatic court summons and serious jail time.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle with a “wanton or willful disregard for the safety of property or persons.” It stems from a conscious decision to expose passengers, pedestrians, or other drivers to harm.
A reckless driver doesn’t necessarily need to harm someone to be charged. The possibility of endangerment is enough to warrant jail time or a fine.
Common Reckless Behaviors
Different actions can constitute reckless driving. As with every state, Colorado has a set of particular actions that are considered reckless under state laws. These include:
- Failure to respect road signs
- Running a red light
- Driving without using headlights
- Improper passing
- Excessive speeding
In some states, basic infractions such as failing to maintain a proper distance in bad weather can be considered reckless driving.
When Does Speeding Become Reckless Driving?
Speeding rarely constitutes reckless driving. Nonetheless, driving more than 25 mph above the accepted or posted limit can carry reckless driving charges.
The same could be said for when speeding is combined with other reckless actions. For instance, if you speed in a highly congested area or on a winding or dark road.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
A first conviction could earn you:
- A fine of up to $300
- 10 to 90 days in jail
Subsequent sentences are equivalent to:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Jail time anywhere from 10 days to 6 months
Talk to a Grand Junction Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Colorado has a zero-tolerance attitude towards reckless driving. Even a first-time offense could have severe repercussions on your driving and criminal records.
If you have been charged with a reckless driving offense, don’t pay your ticket. Talk to a Grand Junction Auto Accident Lawyer. We can help you avoid a criminal traffic charge. Call us today at (970) 644-5194.