Nebraska Reckless Driving Laws

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Per Nebraska case law, reckless driving violations are traffic violations charged as criminal offenses, meaning the offense carries both the potential of criminal penalties, but also incurs penalties from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.

Defining Reckless Driving in Nebraska

The state of Nebraska defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates indifference or lack of regard for the safety of other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or property. However, under state law, an enhanced charge, known as willful reckless driving, exists. Willful reckless driving in Nebraska is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a willing disregard for the well-being of other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or property.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Nebraska

Offense/Violation

Classification

Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Willful reckless driving

Class III misdemeanor

Incarceration of up to three months, with fines not to exceed $500

6

License revocation of at least 30 days, but not more than one year

Reckless driving

Class III misdemeanor

Incarceration of up to three months, with fines not to exceed $500

5

Unlike willful reckless, no statutory provision requiring courts to suspend license

Impact on Your Drivers License

All points remain on a driver’s record, influencing insurance rates, for a period of five years in Nebraska. However, accumulation of 12 or more points within two-years results in an automatic license suspension, pending the outcome of a hearing. If a driver possesses prior points, the points incurred by a reckless driving violation may create a point-based suspension scenario. However, under Nebraska law, drivers can take a driver-education course, which removes two points from their license (but only once every five years).

This course must be taken prior to receiving the 12th point on a license, but in practice, may be negotiated at the license suspension hearing. Even if suspended, Nebraska allows limited, case-specific hardship licenses for medical needs or employment needs.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Nebraska

The best option for dealing with the fallout from a reckless driving charge will initially occur through aggressively defending against the criminal charges faced. Given the highly subjective nature of the definition of reckless or even willful reckless driving charges, oftentimes, lesser charges are more applicable. Through a plea option, drivers may be able to obtain a favorable plea agreement, which reduces the charges faced into lesser, non-criminal violations, if outright dismissal is not possible. This cannot only prevent creation of a criminal conviction, but also mitigate the potential of license suspension, cut down the total costs of the charge and prevent excessive point accumulation.

When to Get a Lawyer

In practice, a lawyer should be involved from the outset of any reckless driving case. More often than not, reckless driving arrests are incident to non-criminal traffic violations. The vague nature of the law, coupled with the applicability of other traffic violations, makes reckless driving cases simple criminal charges often resolved via a favorable plea agreement. To learn more about the reckless driving laws in Nebraska, including how a Nebraska reckless driving lawyer can help your case, contact one directly today.

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