What is Careless Driving in Florida?

Careless Driving Florida

Driving safely and carefully is one of the first things you are taught as a driver, whether you took driver’s education, learned with your parents, or worked with an instructor. Traffic laws in Florida and other states exist to protect motorists and ensure that drivers are acting in a safe and careful manner. Careless driving, in contrast, can increase the risk of car accidents and endanger people on the road.

Specifically, careless driving is a charge under Florida law that drivers can be charged with if law enforcement or other people witness driving that qualifies. Additionally, if there is an accident, parties can be cited for careless driving if there is evidence that it led to the collision.

If you’ve been cited for careless driving in Florida, it’s important to understand what the law says about this charge and what the penalties are. By knowing the statutes, and your rights as a motorist, you can ensure you are being treated fairly under the law. In many situations, working with an experienced lawyer can help you navigate this complex system and get the best legal outcome for you, your insurance rates, and your driving record.

What the Law Says About Careless Driving in Florida

Florida law defines careless driving under Statute 316.1925. Careless driving involves the operation of a car or other vehicle in a way that is not prudent or careful regarding traffic conditions. This specifically means disregarding the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and other circumstances of the streets and highways of the state. Careless driving can endanger, injure, or damage both people and property.

Florida law further defines aggressive careless driving under statute 316.1923. To be cited for this aggressive careless driving, a driver must commit at least two of the following specific offenses:

According to Florida law, careless driving and aggressive careless driving are punishable as noncriminal moving violations. Careless driving is similar in some ways to reckless driving, with the primary differences being that reckless driving must show willful and wanton intent and can therefore be punished as a criminal violation.

Potential Penalties for Careless Driving in Florida

If cited for careless driving in Florida, drivers can expect to be penalized with fines and other costly obstacles. The minimum fine for careless driving is $160 and the maximum is $500. In addition, court costs can be incurred.

Careless driving can also result in points on your driver’s license that are in excess of other traffic violations. While many moving citations will put only three points on the license, a careless driving charge can result in four points. This can increase the rate of accumulation on your driving record, which may eventually lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.

Having points on your driving record can cause insurance rates to increase substantially as well. Rates can vary depending on your previous driving record and insurance carrier, but some estimates show premiums can increase anywhere from 25% to 50% after a careless driving charge.

In some situations, a withhold of adjudication of the conviction can be obtained for a careless driving charge. Common situations where this can occur include:

  • No previous convictions
  • No property damage or accident
  • No injuries

Additionally, there are many situations where a citation for careless driving is not valid. By working with a qualified attorney, you analyze your case to be sure that you are being treated fairly by the law and courts.

How an Attorney Can Help with a Careless Driving Charge in Florida

There are a wide range of potential defenses for a careless driving ticket in Florida. Mitigating circumstances can include inaccurate witness testimony, conflicting witness testimony, procedural oversights by law enforcement, malfunctioning or poorly marked traffic control devices, and unavoidable road hazards. By working with an attorney who fully understands the law and the most effective defenses for careless driving citations, you can give yourself the best chance of fully protecting your legal rights.

At Clark Hartpence Law, attorney Jeremy Clark was a public defender in the Sixth Judicial Circuit with a deep knowledge of the laws surrounding careless driving and aggressive careless driving charges. With our team’s extensive experience, we are able to respond effectively to the strategies and arguments the state of Florida uses in these cases and work for the best result for you.

Contact us today at (855) 680-4911 for your free consultation. We’ll work hard to minimize the penalties of your Florida careless driving ticket.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.