Reckless driving is a catchall term that can mean different things in different states. Broadly, it means driving in a careless or dangerous manner that could put others in harm’s way. Many people have received speeding tickets in their years of driving, but a reckless driving charge is less common and usually requires a court appearance.
In some states, merely surpassing the speed limit is cause for a reckless driving charge. These charges usually result from going higher than a predetermined rate of speed, or more than 20 mph over the speed limit. Unsafe passing can also cause for a charge. Passing a school bus, passing two vehicles abreast, or passing on the crest of a hill are all no-nos. Driving too fast for the current road conditions or even failing to signal all can result in a reckless driving charge.
Consult an Attorney
What should you do if you have been charged with reckless driving? Get a lawyer. These charges are serious and can result in the loss of your license, steep fines, points on your insurance and even jail time, depending on the seriousness of the incident and whether anyone was injured or there was property damage. One famous result was recently publicized when Washington Nationals’ right fielder served five days in jail for driving 105 mph in a 55 mph zone in Virginia. These laws vary from state to state, so make sure you know the rules and the penalties for the state in which you were charged.
A good lawyer may be able to get your charge reduced to a simple speeding violation or a charge of improper driving. This will likely lead to more lenient penalties, and if you lose your license it will probably be for a shorter period of time. Fines, too, would be lower for these less-serious charges, and fewer points would be assessed by your insurance company.
If you are a first-time offender, you may get off with a lighter sentence, but repeat offenders can raise the ire of judges, sometimes provoking them to impose harsher penalties. Time spent in jail away from your job or the long-term loss of your license can spell serious hardship and possibly financial ruination, so it’s critical to have a lawyer on your side who is knowledgeable about traffic violations in your area.
Even though reckless driving is usually treated as a misdemeanor, it can still go on your permanent record, following you for the rest of your life. A conviction can prevent you from retaining your security clearance, which could affect your income. For these reasons, many people try to get their reckless driving conviction expunged, or wiped clean from their record, but it’s a difficult task and most bids are unsuccessful.
Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can mean the difference between an inconvenience and a major, long-lasting disruption to your life. If you have been charged with reckless driving, contact an attorney experienced in this area right away.