Michigan Reckless Driving Laws

The state of Michigan categorizes reckless driving as a criminal traffic offense. To licensed drivers found in violation of this law, defendants face the prospect of both criminal penalties, including incarceration, as well as administrative action, such as license suspension.

Defining Reckless Driving in Michigan

Under Michigan's Compiled Laws, 257.626, a driver violates reckless driving laws when he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that shows willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or property.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Michigan



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Incarceration of not more than 93 days, with fines not to exceed $500


Automatic license suspension possible for length of not more than one year

Impact on Your Drivers License

Drivers may be subject, upon discretion of sanctioning body for licenses, to automatic license suspension following a single count of reckless driving. Additionally, sanctions may include mandatory attendance at state-approved traffic school as pre-requisite to reinstatement or means of preventing automatic suspension. Further penalties concerning licenses apply as well. Reckless driving in Michigan is a Category 2 violation, meaning drivers will be assessed $500 annually for two-years under Michigan's Driver Responsibility Program, regardless of the amount of points currently on their license.

Licenses may be reinstated partially prior to completion of a suspension period, upon the discretion the courts on a case-specific basic, for hardship-based licensing needs. Accumulation of more than 12 points within a one-year timeframe requires mandatory "reexamination" by state, which can result in any number of sanctions on the license as well.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Michigan

Ultimately, the best option for dealing with a reckless driving charge, including administrative fallout and the potential criminal penalties, will be through using legal counsel to directly address the pending criminal case. Reckless driving laws are highly subjective, and in turn, ripe for favorable plea agreements involving reduction of charges into lesser criminal convictions, such as careless driving or even non-criminal traffic violations, such as speeding. Conviction of a lesser offense will, ideally, prevent incarceration, prevent creation of a criminal record, and mitigate some of the licensing fallout that would occur otherwise if convicted of reckless driving. However, these deals are only secured on a case-specific basis, of which the likelihood is only bolstered by the representation of a lawyer.

When to Get a Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Michigan

Reckless driving charges in Michigan are serious criminal charges, which should prompt any defendant to seek out the counsel of a Michigan reckless driving lawyer to explore any legal or defense option available. Given the highly case-specific nature of each reckless driving case, consulting directly with a lawyer about your legal options is the most reliable and effective manner of addressing a reckless driving charge in Michigan.

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