You are running late for a critical appointment and behind the slowest driver on the freeway. You decide to pass them up and speed around them while weaving in and out of traffic at speeds that are unsafe for the traffic conditions. Suddenly, you hear police sirens and realize you are being pulled over. You anticipate a ticket for speeding-but are shocked when the police officer cites you for reckless driving. What will this do to your driving record? What about your auto insurance? Even worse-will you have to spend time in jail?
The above scenario is surprisingly common. According to California Vehicle Code 23103, “any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Due to the subjective nature of this law, police officers often charge drivers with reckless driving-even when a lesser offense is more apt. And without an experienced criminal defense attorney-you could face more severe consequences and penalties than you deserve.
Penalties and Consequences for Reckless Driving
In the State of California, reckless driving is a criminal offense and it is not a simple ticket or infraction. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and will show up on your criminal record and DMV driving record. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you can face the following penalties and consequences:
- Maximum of 90 days in jail
- Misdemeanor on your criminal record
- Up to $1,000 fines
- Increase in insurance premiums
- 2 points on your driving record
- Vehicle impoundment up to 30 days
- License suspension for up to 30 days on the first conviction
- License suspension up to 60 days on the second conviction
- License suspension up to 6 months for a third or subsequent conviction
- And more
Getting Your Reckless Driving Charges Reduced is a MUST
If you are facing reckless driving charges, it is important to contact an experienced San Mateo criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will begin to build your case-and one that is designed to have your charges reduced to a lesser offense, such as speeding. In contrast, speeding is an infraction and only 1 point on your driving record. A speeding ticket will not affect your insurance premiums nearly as much as a reckless driving conviction will. Plus, unlike reckless driving, you will not spend time behind bars for speeding.
Defenses Against Reckless Driving
In order to be convicted of reckless driving in the State of California, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you were driving the vehicle
- That you drove with wanton disregard for property or the safety of others
If your attorney can prove that your driving behavior was not done out of disregard for the safety of others, then your attorney may be able to have your charges dropped. For example, if you were not driving in a manner that was unsafe for the traffic conditions then you may not be guilty of reckless driving.
Examples of Reckless Driving
What is considered reckless driving? There is often a fine line between driving infractions, such as speeding, and the criminal offense of reckless driving. Is driving 15 mph over the speed limit reckless? What about 30mph over? In general, however, the following driving actions could be considered reckless driving based upon the traffic conditions:
- Excessively speeding
- Tailgating dangerously
- Illegal passing
- Weaving through traffic
- Ignoring traffic signals or signs
- Popping a wheelie on your motorcycle
- Texting while driving
- Any unsafe driving practice that endangers lives
- Knowingly driving a vehicle with faulty brakes
- And more
San Mateo Criminal Defense Lawyers
At Ahmed & Sukaram, our San Mateo criminal defense lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to build a solid defense against reckless driving charges. If you are charged with reckless driving in Redwood City, San Mateo, Palo Alto, San Jose or anywhere in the State of California, contact the dynamic legal team of Ahmed & Sukaram immediately. You are not alone-call Ahmed & Sukaram today at 866-477-0965 or email us through this site in order to set up a no obligation consultation.