Sometimes, we don’t always think about the danger we put others in with our carelessness. If you’re faced with a reckless driving charge, you may be shocked and fearful of what this means for your future. Know what your state laws are regarding reckless driving and prevent any future setbacks. Below, we explain what reckless driving is and how a charge may impact you.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving means operating your vehicle in a way that is likely to cause harm to the safety or property of others. The term encompasses many harmful driving tactics such as swerving; driving over 25 miles above the speed limit; illegal passing; weaving through traffic; ignoring traffic signs; racing. Eliminate activities like cell phone usage while operating your car as well, as this decreases your focus on driving by as much as 37%.
Unlike other traffic violations, the circumstances surrounding a reckless driving charge are much more pertinent to the charge. Each individual case is investigated, and people are either found guilty or innocent based on various factors including the time of day, weather conditions, the presence of drivers or people on the road, or if the driving was intentionally reckless. To uphold a reckless driving charge, the court must prove you acted beyond negligence and willfully drove in a way that disregarded the safety of others. This does not mean, however, that the prosecution must prove your mental state was compromised. Instead, they just need to show that a sign or signal was present that should have alerted the driver to his/her carelessness.
Driving recklessly is not the same thing as driving carelessly. Both are considered moving violations but driving carelessly is less serious and less costly. Careless driving refers to someone driving without paying attention. The primary difference between the two charges is intent.
As one of the more serious traffic offenses, it can cost you up to $2,500 in fines, jail time, and license revocation. Most people choose to hire a lawyer to get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor, as in some states reckless driving is considered a felony charge.
A reckless driving charge can also incur points on your license. Most moving violations result in points on your record, but not all states abide by the point system to keep track of driving offenses. The states that do use the point system have established limits—if you exceed the maximum number of points, you will get your license revoked. Some points stay on your record for a decade, but there is also the option to have them removed after driving school or getting the charges reduced in court. Luckily, online SR22 insurance offers you a way to continue driving after a serious moving violation should the court not grant you an appeal.