A Serious Traffic Offense: Reckless Driving

Most traffic offenses are relatively minor. In most cases, traffic violations fall into the infraction category. One traffic offense stands out, however, and it falls not into the infraction category but into the criminal realm. Read on to learn more about reckless driving issues.

What Sets Reckless Driving Offenses Apart?

Carelessness, inattentiveness, being in an unfamiliar location, and other things can cause traffic violations to happen. The law treats that class of violation as minor and that is mostly because it's accidental in nature. You may have missed that stop sign or accidentally drove the wrong way down a one-way street. What separates those types of offenses from reckless driving is intent. It is vital, however, to understand that the law has no burden to prove intent when prosecuting a reckless driving offense. That can leave some with charges that should have fallen into the accidental rather than the criminal category.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Though each state has its own way of defining reckless driving offenses, in many cases this type of violation takes a relatively minor offense, like speeding, and compounds it. In many states, if you exceed the posted speed limit by a certain amount, it's considered reckless. That charge can stick even if you did not know the speed limit or you did not mean to exceed it. Other speeding-related issues that can bring reckless driving charges include going too fast for weather conditions, speeding in a construction zone, and speeding in a school zone. Along with speeding, other driving practices that can get you in trouble include:

Distracted Driving

This is a relatively new way of charging drivers with reckless driving. The use of cell phones and other devices while driving has been the target of new laws in many states. In many places, you can be charged just for having a device in your hand while driving — even if no other offenses are noted.

Aggressive Driving

We've all seen drivers who weave in and out of traffic in an effort to beat the light or arrive a few minutes earlier to a destination than others. What many may not know is that those who are seen to be driving aggressively can also be charged with reckless driving.

Driving offenses like reckless driving can be subjective. Just being charged is no reason to meekly pay the fine. The punishment for reckless driving may rise to a level that is costly, creates a criminal record, and affects your driving privileges. Speak to a criminal lawyer about your reckless driving charges right away.