Oregon Reckless Driving Laws

Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Oregon, which carries both the potential of incarceration and the potential of administrative action by the Oregon Department of Transportation, including action such as license suspension. However, unless companion charges are applicable, most drivers cited for reckless driving will be issued a summons to appear in court and will not face immediate incarceration.

Defining Reckless Driving in Oregon

The state of Oregon defines reckless driving as any reckless operation of a motor vehicle that puts other persons or property in danger of harm or damage. To differentiate between reckless and careless driving, which is a lesser offense, reckless driving is defined in Oregon as acting with awareness in a manner that risks safety of others and otherwise exhibits a gross deviation from a reasonable standard of care owed on the roadway.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Oregon



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless Driving

Class A Misdemeanor

Incarceration of not more than one year, with fines not to exceed $6250

No point system, but tracks traffic convictions. Reckless driving is one traffic conviction

Automatic license suspension of 90 days for first offense within five years

Impact on Your Drivers License

As noted above, conviction of reckless driving results in a mandatory 90-day license suspension. Unfortunately, the Oregon DMV does not employ a traffic school program, which allows reduction of points or penalties faced, however, there is limited room for obtaining a hardship license in Oregon (although suspensions based on traffic crimes, such as reckless driving, are often not eligible for hardship-based early reinstatement). Upon completion of the suspension period, the driver is responsible for reinstatement costs, fees and surcharges.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Oregon

In practice, reckless driving convictions rarely result in incarceration, however, the fallout from the reckless driving conviction can prove extremely costly and prohibit employment in certain cases. Typically, a first offense reckless driving case, if not resolvable via outright dismissal, will likely be eligible for a favorable plea agreement, typically reducing the charges faced into a lesser offense, such as careless driving (or even a non-criminal traffic violation). On the administrative end, drivers are afforded a hearing prior to license suspension, which may present the opportunity to prevent suspension of license, but this will only occur in light of case-specific considerations--often employing tactics that would otherwise prove that the reckless driving charges in the criminal courts are not viable.

When to Get a Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Oregon

Given the serious nature of reckless driving charges in Oregon, drivers should seek out the direct advise and insight of legal counsel immediately following a reckless driving citation. Not only are criminal issues at stake, but also, drivers face a complicated process for addressing administrative-based licensing issues as well. Furthermore, if the reckless driving citation is incident to any accident causing property damage or bodily injury, drivers will likely be subject to civil claims as well. Having legal counsel involved, in the form of an Oregon reckless driving lawyer, is essential.

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