All states have specific rules of the road that drivers are required to follow. Failure to follow those rules can result in receiving a traffic violation citation. There are some violations, however, which result in a criminal offense and may lead you to seek the counsel of a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA trusts. One such charge is reckless driving.
Reckless driving is when the driver of a vehicle operates with a willful or reckless disregard for the safety of commuters, pedestrians, and property of others. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding reckless driving charges.
What types of acts are defined as reckless driving?
Each state has its own definitions of reckless driving, but in general, law enforcement can charge someone with reckless driving if a driver is:
- Driving more than 25 m.p.h. over the posted speed limit
- Driving at night without their headlights on
- Engaged in distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and driving
- Passing vehicles on a two-lane road when they have limited visibility of the traffic that is traveling in the other direction
- Racing with other drivers
- Driving to elude law enforcement
What happens if I am charged with reckless driving?
Unlike traffic violations, such as running a stop sign or failing to use a turn signal, reckless driving is a criminal offense and is charged as a misdemeanor crime. The driver is arrested and police must give read them their rights. All other constitutional rights apply to reckless driving charges as they do with other criminal charges, including the right to remain silent.
The prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do that, the prosecutor must prove that the driver’s mental state was such that their actions were reckless. They are not, however, required to show intent. They only need to prove that the driver was aware of the dangers of their actions but ignored those dangers.
What are the penalties for reckless driving?
The penalties for a reckless driving conviction often depend on what the driver’s criminal and driving records look like and if there are other violations and criminal convictions. Even if a person has a clean record, being found guilty of reckless driving means they now have a misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record.
For those who have already had issues with the law, the conviction could be revocation of parole or probation violation. If the person has had other traffic violation issues, the conviction could result in suspension or revocation of their driver’s license. At the very least, a conviction can result in heavy fines.
Other Possible Issues of a Reckless Driving Conviction
A reckless driving conviction can affect other areas of a person’s life. If their job involves any type of driving, such as delivery driver, ridesharing, or taxi driver, a reckless driving conviction could result in dismissal by their employer. If the person holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the type necessary for operating tractor-trailers, construction vehicles, and buses, a reckless driving conviction could affect the status of that license, even if the conviction would not affect a passenger driver’s license. The rules are much more stringent for CDLs.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their knowledge about reckless driving charges.