Reckless driving is defined as the “reckless operation of a motor vehicle” where you willfully disregard the rules of the road and the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and property.
The laws governing a reckless driving violation can vary widely from state to state, but in general, examples of reckless driving offenses can include:
Reckless driving is usually a misdemeanor crime, which means that you are prosecuted according to federal laws, that you must have the case against you proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that you must be read your Miranda rights when you are arrested, etc. In some states however, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense with stiffer penalties, so beware!
If you are convicted of reckless driving, penalties vary from state to state. Some of the penalties for a first offense can include:
If you are convicted of a second reckless driving violation, again penalties will vary from state to state. In general, second violation consequences get even more serious. You could face:
The best way to avoid first and second reckless driving violations is to simply obey the rules of the road. Avoid speeding, and keep in mind that penalties for disregarding the safety of others are steep!
If you do find yourself facing charges for reckless driving, you will want to try to plea-bargain them down to a lesser offense, and thus avoid long-term effects of a serious reckless driving record. It is almost always a good idea to hire an attorney to help you when facing reckless driving charges to help you decide whether to plea bargain or how to approach your charges.