The Criminal and Civil Consequences for Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is considered willful disregard for the wellbeing and safety of others or property when operating a vehicle. Intentionally, knowingly, and purposefully driving in an unsafe manner that endangers others may result in harm to those nearby. An officer may observe a driver swerving, driving on the sidewalk, speeding, running over objects, or violating other traffic laws that puts the safety of others in jeopardy. Even if no harm was inflicted, an officer may still give someone a ticket or arrest them for driving recklessly.

Anyone who is facing a reckless driving charge must take the situation seriously and speak with an attorney about creating a strong defense. Without help from a legal professional, the person may have to deal with the very worst of the potential consequences.

What are the criminal repercussions for reckless driving?

The consequences someone faces due to reckless driving often varies depending on the circumstances of the individual case. The driver may be required to pay a heavy fine if convicted. Other penalties include jail time, suspended license, and points added to their driving record. If intent is proven, then further repercussions may be ordered, such as having to take a class or attend a program where attendance is mandatory. 

What are the civil consequences if charged?

If another party was injured due to the reckless driving, then they may take that driver to civil court for compensation of their medical bills, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and other types of damages. For example, if a car accident ensued due to reckless driving behavior and another person was harmed, then the offending driver may need to cover their treatment costs, prescription medications, diagnostics, surgery, or other medical care related to the injury.

As you can imagine, the financial impact this can have on a person may mean they have trouble getting out of monetary hardship for years to come. The best thing to do to help protect yourself during this time is by hiring a defense attorney.

What can I do to defend myself for reckless driving?

After speaking with your attorney, he or she may recommend using a defense strategy in hopes of reducing the consequences or having the charges dropped entirely. As someone facing a reckless driving conviction, you are technically innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution may have a hard time convicting you if they lack the proof needed to show you were driving recklessly beyond a reasonable doubt. For instance, if it was another person who reported your unsafe driving and the officer didn’t see it for themselves, they will have to show evidence that you did, in fact, engage in reckless driving behavior. Defenses that your attorney may use include: 

  • You weren’t the one operating the vehicle
  • You were driving with urgency due to an emergency or immediate threat
  • The prosecution doesn’t have sufficient evidence to show you were driving negligently or with purposeful intent to harm
  • The officer who pulled you over for speeding hadn’t calibrated the equipment properly

Contact an experienced lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C., to get help with your case today.