Minnesota Reckless Driving Laws

The state of Minnesota categorizes reckless driving violations as criminal traffic violations. For drivers, this means that conviction results in the potential of both criminal penalties and administrative action by the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Service Division. Furthermore, although the potential criminal penalties rarely amount to those allowed by law, conviction creates a criminal record. This can have a huge influence on employability.

Defining Reckless Driving in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota, per Minnesota Statue 169.13, defines reckless driving as operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the welfare of other persons or property through a wanton or willful manner. Under Minnesota law, regardless of speed, any illegal racing or speed contest on a public roadway is defined as a reckless driving offense.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Minnesota



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Incarceration of not more than 90 days, with fines not to exceed $1,000

No point system in Minnesota

Possible license suspension by MDVSD Commissioner upon conviction, but licensee allowed hearing to contest

Impact on Your Drivers License

As noted above, a single offense of reckless driving carries the potential of automatic license suspension, per the discretion of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Service Division. If the reckless driving charge is incident to an accident causing any property damage or bodily injury, however, license suspension is much more likely, but administered on a case-specific basis. Licensees are allowed by law to contest the pending license suspension via a hearing. Use of a driving school on a case-specific basis may prevent license suspension, but will never erase the citation. Additionally, in Minnesota, drivers can obtain hardship licenses on a case-specific basis following a waiting period; this varies from case to case.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Minnesota

The best method of preventing both administrative impact and criminal penalties will be through defending against the criminal charges from the outset. Reckless driving arrests are a subjective interpretation of intent involving otherwise non-criminal traffic violations. From a legal perspective, a lawyer will work towards outright dismissal of the charges, and if not feasible, will negotiate a plea option involving reduction of charges into a non-criminal or lesser offense (such as speeding or careless driving). In practice, assuming an offender employs legal counsel, first offense reckless driving charges will not result in incarceration.

Getting a Lawyer

To learn more about your legal rights and options in a Minnesota reckless driving case, including how negotiate a favorable plea agreement in your specific reckless driving case, it is imperative you consult with a Minnesota reckless driving lawyer.

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