Florida Reckless Driving Laws

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Florida explicitly defines reckless driving as a criminal offense, which encompasses both criminal and administrative penalties.

Defining Reckless Driving in Florida

The state of Florida defines reckless driving as any operation of a vehicle that exhibits willing or wanton disregard for the safety of others or their property, with the specific offense of eluding a law enforcement officer as reckless driving in any case. However, reckless driving penalties are enhanced per statutory language, if the reckless driving causes injury or property damage.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Florida

Offense/Violation

Classification

Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless Driving

Misdemeanor

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

4

License suspension, if court ordered or based on points

Reckless Driving, subsequent offense

Misdemeanor

Incarceration up to 6 months, with fines of at least $50, but not more than $1,000

4

License suspension, if court ordered or based on points

Reckless Driving, causing damage to property or person

Misdemeanor, first degree

Incarceration not to exceed one year, with fines not to exceed $1,000

4, or 6 if unlawful speed caused accident

License suspension, if court ordered or based on points

Reckless Driving, causing serious bodily injury

Felony, third degree

Incarceration up to five years, with fines up to $5,000

4, or 6 if unlawful speed caused accident

License suspension or revocation, if court ordered or based on points

Impact on Your Driver's License

License suspensions for reckless driving in Florida are made at the discretion of the criminal courts. However, if a driver accumulates too many points as the result of the reckless driving conviction, administrative suspensions may occur. Florida implements a mandatory suspension hearing for drivers accumulating 12 or more points within a one-year period. Drivers face a suspension of not more than 30 days at this hearing, but they can attend the Basic Driver Improvement course to prevent both accumulation of points and point-based suspensions at this time. Florida allows drivers to utilize a restricted license during suspension under certain circumstances.

Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Florida

Addressing the fallout from a reckless driving charge should initially focus on the pending criminal charges. Given the vague nature of the reckless driving laws in Florida, save for eluding law enforcement cases, drivers may best be served by non-criminal traffic violations, rather than criminal charges. Any defense will focus on undermining the assertion that criminal reckless driving charges are applicable in light of lesser non-criminal traffic violations. Pending the case-specific elements and whether legal counsel is used, a driver will likely either obtain a dismissal or enter into some form of plea agreement to prevent incarceration, or reducing the charge into a traffic citation. License suspension, however, requires legal intervention during an administrative hearing, if points-based or court ordered, during the criminal proceedings. Options are available to prevent or mitigate the impact of suspension via restricted licenses.

When to Get a Lawyer

In any reckless driving case, a Florida reckless driving attorney should be involved upon arrest or citation. Drivers not only face the criminal and administrative penalties, but also a criminal record which is likely to affect employment. Given the high propensity of prosecutors to offer favorable plea agreements in light of case-specific evidence and considerations, having legal counsel involved is advisable. For more information on Florida reckless driving laws, consult with a Florida reckless driving attorney.

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