Before heading out to the bar or that party, be certain you know what the term ‘reckless driving’ means and all that can stem from it – not just tonight, but down the road, too.
Take a step back and make the right choices to avoid reckless driving so you won’t end up needing SR22 insurance in the future.
Reckless driving constitutes operating a motor vehicle in a way that willfully poses a risk to others. Reckless driving is not a black and white issue; there are a number of circumstances that are taken into account for each individual case. Due to the fact that vehicles themselves can be dangerous, operating them carelessly is a crime that can come with very steep penalties.
Defining Reckless Driving
A. Components of the case are all weighed, and these include if other people or even animals were present, the type of weather conditions occurring at the time, the condition of the vehicle, whether the driver was familiar with the area, and many other factors.
B. More than simple negligence. Everyone makes mistakes at one time or another, but reckless driving charges must be proven with the idea that the driver did know or should have known that they were not safe.
C. Safety risk to anyone, even themselves, may still be considered reckless driving. It does not matter if nobody else was hurt or there wasn’t anyone else on the road, there was still the possibility of risk to the driver and their property.
D. Per se offenses refer to violations or ‘acts’ that are inherently illegal. Perse is Latin for “by itself” and it means that you may be guilty of a particular offense even if there is no other evidence. Most per se offenses cover blood alcohol limits and drunk driving.
E. Examples of reckless driving include operating the vehicle while intoxicated or impaired, distracted driving, and unlawfully passing a school bus, public bus, or car.
Stiff Legal Penalties for Reckless Driving
While fines depend on the state, reckless driving is always considered to be a serious traffic offense where you may face significant penalties.
- Jail time or prison. In most states, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor offense which brings with it one year in jail if convicted. However, there are a few states that allow reckless driving to be charged as a felony, which can mean a year or more in state prison if convicted. Personal injury is the most likely reason a court would elevate the crime to a felony.
- Also differing wildly from state to state and the seriousness of the crime and its aftermath, fines can range anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- Due to the willful act and nature of reckless driving, the driver might be faced with serving probation. This is dependent on the driver’s history and the circumstances of the original case. Likely lasting 12 months or more, additional requirements may be attached to probation including:
- Finding a job
- Regular visits with a probation officer
- Keeping ‘clean’ by not committing other offenses or traffic violations
- License suspension is also a possibility in a reckless driving case. So is revocation, if the court deems it necessary. Most states require license suspension of at least 30 days after a reckless driving conviction and maybe longer than that if a history of reckless driving is present.
Long-Term Consequences of Reckless Driving
- Damage to reputation. There is a definite psychological element to reckless driving. Other people in your life: friends, family members, coworkers – may treat you differently after a conviction. They may make judgments about you and start to have less faith in your character.
- The rise in insurance premiums. Categorized now as a greater risk, insurance companies will either increase their premiums or drop you as a customer altogether. Without insurance, this can make it extremely difficult to get to work, get to the probation officer, and do everyday things.
- Mental anguish. Getting convicted of a crime is no joke. If others were injured it will increase the chance that the driver will suffer from mental anguish, pain, and guilt over the event. Not just about how they are at fault but all of the rippling aftermath of their mistake.
Wherever you are headed – whether it’s to party with friends, a family social gathering, or even a night at the bar, plan ahead for a ride home. Designate a driver, install the Uber or Lyft app onto your phone, and enjoy your night peacefully knowing that you’re taking the responsible route.