At some point or another, most people will go through the experience of getting pulled over for speeding. Blame it on thinking about family or work responsibilities, being in a hurry, or simply not noticing the speed limit signs — regardless of the reason, if you get caught, you’ll have to pay a fine. But, what happens when a police officer tells you you’re getting a ticket for reckless driving? What does it mean? Is it any different from a regular speeding ticket? And, what are the consequences?
What is reckless driving?
Florida Statutes Section 316.192 states that a person is guilty of reckless driving when they drive any vehicle with a willful or careless disregard for the safety of people or property.
While the definition is vague, examples of what has been considered to be reckless driving by law enforcement include:
- Driving at a speed that’s significantly higher than the posted limit
- Driving at excess speed while tailgating the motor vehicle in front of you
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fleeing from a law enforcement officer
What are the penalties for reckless driving in Florida?
People who are convicted of reckless driving face substantial fines, as well as jail time. The specific amounts and timeframes will vary depending on whether you have a previous record of driving recklessly, as follows:
- For a first conviction, the consequences include a fine of up to $500 and possible imprisonment of up to 90 days.
- For a subsequent conviction, the fine increases up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
- If, in addition to driving recklessly, you caused serious bodily injury to someone else, it is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years imprisonment.
Is reckless driving a misdemeanor or a felony?
Reckless driving, by itself, is considered to be a misdemeanor, punishable as explained above. However, if you cause serious bodily injury, you will be found guilty of a third-degree felony. For a person to be considered to have suffered a serious bodily injury, it must be a condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or the impairment or loss of function of any bodily member or organ.
How long does a reckless driving charge stay on your record?
This depends on the outcome of the court hearing. When a person faces a criminal conviction, the adjudication can be withheld. This means the judge orders probation without formally convicting the defendant. It’s usually granted to people who have no previous criminal record and whom the judge believes is not likely to engage in criminal behavior again.
If the defendant completes probation successfully, they will not assess points on their driving record and no conviction will show up on a background search. On the other hand, if the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, the reckless driving conviction will remain on their record for life.
Call Clark Law If You’re Facing Reckless Driving Charges in Tampa Bay
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident or is wondering about whether a ticket can be contested, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best course of action.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.