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Too Fast Too Reckless: When Speeding Leads to Criminal Charges

Let’s say you’re late for work; you hop on I95 and start speeding north toward Downtown Jacksonville.

Hey, that car in front is moving way too slow for you. You tailgate for a moment looking for that brief opening in the lane on your left. There’s the opening.

You whip your car over, punch the gas passing the car on your right then zip over in front of it. Weaving in and out, you’re now easily moving through traffic well over the speed limit.

You’ll be at work in no time, you think happily.

Until you see those blue flashing lights of Jacksonville’s finest in the rearview mirror.

As you pull over, you might be thinking that trying to get to work on time was worth the risk of a speeding ticket.

Well, not so fast there buddy. Your actions could cost you more than a traffic citation.

The officer might criminally charge you for reckless driving and that could mean an arrest, jail time and a fine.

What is Reckless Driving?

According to Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is defined as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

Here are examples of what could be considered reckless driving:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Passing another car in a risky manner
  • Driving through a stop sign or red light
  • Tailgating
  • Sudden braking
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Talking on phone, texting, being distracted while driving
  • Not using turn signals

To be honest, reckless driving is not well defined. It’s really about the driver’s state of mind—willful vs unintentional behavior.

In many cases, it’s a challenge for police officers to accurately determine reckless driving and the courts to prove. That’s why a good attorney can usually lessen or even drop the charge.

Which is good, given the penalties of a reckless charge conviction.

The Cost of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a criminal offense. And a conviction that could seriously impact your life.

If this is your first reckless driving offense, you could be facing:

  • Up to 90 days imprisonment
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Or both

If this is your second offense, here’s what you be could be looking at:

  • Up to 6 months imprisonment
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Or both

If your speeding caused property damage or injuries, it could be considered a third degree offense. And that means:

  • Up to 5 years imprisonment
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Or both

Additionally, a reckless driving conviction can add 4 points to your driving record.

What’s worse, reckless driving conviction becomes part of your record. And that could impact your future employment prospects.

What to Do If You’re Charged with Reckless Driving

First, never admit guilt. Anything you say can be used against you in court.

If arrested, ask to immediately speak with an attorney. If you’re not arrested, call an attorney–immediately.

Building an effective defense in your case should start the day you’re charged.

How an Attorney Can Help Fight Your Reckless Driving Charge

If you called us, we’d take aggressive action to fight your reckless driving charges.

We’d take a look at the circumstances of your charge. Were you willfully or wantonly disregarding the safety of others? Were people endangered? Are the charges based on excessive speed? Are there witnesses or supportive video?

We’d look for opportunities to reduce the charge to careless driving, which carry much less penalties. Or, in the right situation, reduce the charge to a moving violation or have it dropped all together.

Contact Us If You have Questions about Reckless Driving Charges

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving or even a traffic violation, we’re here to help you fight for your rights, Contact our firm at (904) 567-3113.