Wisconsin Reckless Driving Laws

Wisconsin addresses reckless driving as a criminal offense, which incurs both criminal and administrative penalties upon conviction. Although incarceration is rare, it is possible depending on whether your driving causes bodily injury to another.

Definition of Reckless Driving in Wisconsin

Reckless driving in Wisconsin encompasses any driving deemed negligent which endangers the safety of others. Subsections of the reckless driving statute explicitly prohibit negligent operation of a vehicle causing "bodily injury" to another and "serious bodily injury" to another, respectively. These laws apply to any driver, licensed in any state, operating a vehicle on any roadway in Wisconsin.

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Wisconsin



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving

Non-categorized criminal offense

Fines of not less than $25 but not more than $500, pending extent of damages caused by reckless driving, if applicable


Potential for automatic license suspension

Impact on Your Driver's License

As noted above, a reckless driving offense carries the potential for automatic license suspension, and in any case incurs 6 demerit points on a Wisconsin license. Accumulation of more than 12 points in a 1-year period in Wisconsin results in at least a 2-month license suspension. However, once every 3 years, you may attend driver safety courses to erase three points from your license.

Dealing with a Charge of Reckless Driving in Wisconsin

Dealing with a reckless driving offense will entail some proactive measures, including seeking legal counsel. The most common methods include mounting some form of defense, while also seeking a plea agreement, and attending driver safety awareness courses approved by the courts. However, for some drivers, conviction is not the ideal option for resolving a case, such as drivers requiring a clean license for employment. Conviction may also cause more problems if the incident caused bodily injury and could lead to civil litigation.

When to Get a Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Wisconsin

A reckless driving conviction could lead incarceration, license suspension, and civil liability. However, a Wisconsin lawyer may reduce the chances you get caught in one of these worst-case scenarios.

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