Charges of reckless driving may occur in several different situations. They often follow drunk driving charges, and they also can happen anytime a police officer pulls someone over for speeding, running through a red light or stop sign, or swerving between lanes. A conviction on reckless driving charges could have a long-term effect on your finances, employment, your personal freedom, and your reputation.
A West Palm Beach reckless driving lawyer understands how stressful it can be to face criminal charges. Our dedicated team of traffic violation defense attorneys would work tirelessly to minimize this stress and get you the best possible result.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving consists of more than mere negligence or careless operation of a motor vehicle. A negligent driving charge involves a motorist who did not operate their vehicle in a responsible and careful manner. A reckless driving charge considers the state of mind and the intent of the accused driver. A reckless driver shows a willful and “wanton disregard” for the safety of other motorists or their property. For example, a motorist who drives 50 miles per hour above the speed limit in a crowded school zone could face a reckless driving charge because they endangered the lives of vulnerable children by blatantly ignoring the speed limit. Under state law, certain situations can often trigger these charges, such as when a motorist drives away from a police car or leads law enforcement officers on a chase. A seasoned West Palm Beach attorney could assist a motorist accused of reckless driving by helping them establish that they did not have the necessary intent to commit any crime.
Criminal Penalties After a Reckless Driving Conviction in West Palm Beach
A conviction on a reckless driving charge is much more serious than a typical careless or negligent operation charge. A negligent driving charge, such as speeding, can impact a motorist’s insurance premiums and require them to pay significant fines, but it is not a criminal offense. A reckless driving charge is a criminal offense, which means that a conviction could also bring jail time. Like most criminal offenses, the number of times a person commits the crime can impact the severity of the penalties.
Generally, first-time offenders receive a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine ranging from $250 to $500. Alternatively, if that same motorist receives another reckless driving charge, they can go to jail for up to 6 months and pay a fine ranging from $500 to $5000. If this crime causes any property damage, the offender then faces an enhanced charge of a first-degree misdemeanor which has a maximin penalty of one year in Jail plus heft fines.
This offense may be increased to a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum five year prison sentence, if the incident results in severe harm to another person. Finally, if the motorist was drunk or otherwise impaired, that motorist would face driving under the influence charges as well as a reckless driving offense.
In addition to criminal penalties, a driver would almost certainly face a hefty increase in their insurance premiums, or they could even lose their insurance. It is also quite possible that a person’s Driver’s License would be suspended as well. Our lawyers in West Palm Beach understand how serious reckless driving charges are and could work diligently to mitigate any possible penalties.
Call a West Palm Beach Reckless Driving Attorney Today
Local law enforcement officers treat reckless driving as a very serious offense. It is critical to work with a West Palm Beach reckless driving lawyer who has the right connections and understands how to fight these charges. Our team could work to dismiss or reduce the charges against you, or at least to minimize the penalties. If you face these charges, you should get in touch with Leifert & Leifert as soon as possible so that an attorney can begin preparing a vigorous defense.