Most states define reckless driving as the willful disregard for the safety of others or the potential consequences for the driver’s actions. There is a difference between negligence because it shows a conscious decision to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm or death. A driver does not have to actually harm a person in order to be guilty of reckless driving. Just creating the risk of that harm is enough to be charged and convicted.

Each state sets its own laws defining what is considered reckless driving but generally, these behaviors are fairly similar. Some of the more common behaviors include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Racing with other vehicles
  • Driving at night or during bad weather without turning headlights on
  • Engaging in dangerous distracted driving activities that take the driver’s focus off the road
  • Tailgating

Some states consider certain traffic offenses like reckless driving. For example, some states charge red-light runners with reckless driving and not just a simple traffic violation. This is why it is critical for all drivers to understand the laws of the state you are driving in.

And while a driver speeding is usually cited with a traffic violation, a driver who is accused of driving more than 25 miles per hour above the posted speed limit could be charged with reckless driving. This means instead of just receiving a traffic ticket, the driver is arrested, read their Miranda rights, and brought to the police station to be processed.

If the driver is also found to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, this is usually charged separately and in addition to the reckless driving charge.

If a driver is convicted of reckless driving, they face serious consequences, depending on the severity of the charges. These are usually misdemeanor offenses, so a conviction could mean up to 12 months in jail depending on the driver’s past criminal history. Minimum penalties still include hefty fines and loss of license, plus a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record.

If there were any victims hurt or killed because of the driver’s actions, or there was significant property damage, the driver will be charged with felony reckless driving. Penalties for convictions include a minimum of one year in prison.

Contact a Reckless Driving Attorney for Help

If you are facing reckless driving charges, the first step to take is to contact a criminal defense lawyer in Rockville, MD, such as from the Law Office of Daniel Wright. Your attorney will know exactly what type of penalties you may be facing should you be convicted and will work to build a defense to fight against these charges. A reckless driving conviction could impact your driving record, ability to get vehicle insurance, and more. Call a law office today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.