Texas Reckless Driving Laws

Although Texas has taken the broad measure of decriminalizing most traffic-related offenses, reckless driving is not one such offense. Reckless driving violations result in arrest, criminal charges and the possibility of both criminal and administrative penalties.

Definition of Reckless Driving in Texas

According to the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 545, Section 401, reckless driving is the operation of a motor vehicle with disregard for the safety of other motorists, pedestrians, passengers or property. Typically, although not explicitly stated in the statute, a reckless driving charge applies when you commit multiple traffic violations, all of which jeopardize the safety of other drivers in short succession.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Texas



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Incarceration of not more than 30 days, with fines not to exceed $200

2 points, or 3 if involving an accident

Automatic license suspension of 30 days

Impact on Your Driver's License

Texas employs surcharges in lieu of outright suspension for habitual traffic violators. In turn, the points accumulated by a reckless driving charge, the costs of reinstating a suspended license (including SR-22 coverage), plus any other criminal-case-related costs make the impact mainly financial in nature. If convicted, you will likely face a mandatory license suspension period of 30 days, but you are eligible for early, hardship-based reinstatement. In addition you can attend traffic school to shave points off your license.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Texas

Addressing a reckless driving charge will require dealing with both criminal issues and administrative issues. In either case, legal counsel is advisable. Except for habitual offenders, reckless driving charges rarely result in incarceration, but the possibility of incarceration is a highly motivating factor in terms of plea agreements, which are the most common route of resolution for reckless driving cases.

Contesting the license suspension with the Texas Department of Public Safety via a hearing can prevent a license suspension. Even if your license is suspended, motions for hardship-based license privileges are still possible.

When to Get a Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Texas

To learn more about your legal rights and options in a Texas reckless driving case, consult with a Texas reckless driving lawyer today.

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