Alabama Reckless Driving Laws

The state of Alabama outlines reckless driving as a criminal offense. For drivers found guilty of reckless driving, this translates into both criminal and administrative penalties upon conviction. These criminal penalties, which can include the potential of jail time, include the creation of a misdemeanor criminal record. Furthermore, administrative action relating to the suspension of one’s driver’s license ultimately hinges on case-specific considerations.

Defining Reckless Driving in Alabama

Per Title 32 Section 32-5A-190 of the Code of Alabama, reckless driving is defined as any operation of a vehicle that negligently places other people or property in danger, with the negligent party driving without due caution or with excessive speed.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Alabama

Offense/Violation

Classification

Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving, 1st conviction

Misdemeanor

Incarceration of at least five days, but not more than 90 days, with fines of at least $25, but not more than $500

6

License suspension possible, pending determination of administrative hearing

Reckless driving, 2nd or subsequent conviction

Misdemeanor

Incarceration of at least 10 days, but not more than six months, with fines of at least $50, but not more than $500

6

Criminal courts granted authority to suspend license for a period not exceeding six months

Impact on Your Drivers License

A first offense reckless driving conviction alone may provide grounds to suspend a license, pending the case-specific nature of the offense. However, per the Code of Alabama, the courts are expressly permitted to suspend a license for a second or subsequent reckless driving conviction up to six months. In Alabama, accumulation of 12 or more points within a two-year period results in a pending license suspension of 60 days. Drivers have limited opportunities to contest a pending points-based suspension through a hearing with the Department of Public Safety, which may allow completion of traffic school as a means of dismissing a ticket.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Alabama

Dealing with a reckless driving charge in Alabama, in most instances, will require the intervention and representation of a lawyer. Ultimately, the administrative impact of the reckless driving charge hinges on the outcome of the pending criminal case. Using legal counsel to undermine or dismiss the pending reckless driving criminal charge is a driver’s best option. Fortunately, Alabama law does not expressly prohibit favorable plea agreements for reckless driving cases, which may reduce the charges faced into a lesser, non-criminal traffic conviction or some other form of favorable sentence preventing incarceration.

When to Get a Lawyer

Consulting with legal counsel, specifically an Alabama reckless driving lawyer, is imperative following any arrest or citation for reckless driving. Even if a driver is issued a summons to appear regarding a reckless driving citation, he was technically placed under arrest and is required by law to appear before the criminal courts. Having legal counsel involved is imperative towards favorably resolving a reckless driving charge.

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