If ever there was a nebulous “catch-all” category in Florida traffic laws, it just may be “reckless driving.” To broaden the law’s reach even further, it encompasses various levels of seriousness that can lead to significant fines and even jail time. The law is far from clear cut, and it is often not consistently applied.
At TicketMom.com, we fight every day for the rights of our clients, helping to ensure they are treated fairly and justly. We want to help eliminate points, court appearances, and even traffic school. We work against fines that may be excessive.
If you’ve been cited for reckless driving, it’s time for a quick read on what exactly that means and the ramifications that may result. It may be time to decide whether to accept the charges or to fight them with the help of TicketMom.
How is Reckless Driving Defined?
To see how broadly careless driving is defined, one only need to read Section 316.1925 of the Florida driving statutes:
“Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.”
Well, that narrows it down, doesn’t it?
Reckless driving is so far ranging it can include everything from passing a school bus with the stop sign displayed to passing traffic on a blind curve. It may include excessive speeding and ignoring railroad traffic barriers. Even distracted driving can be lumped into careless or reckless driving.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Florida? Reckless driving can be treated like a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the charge along with the number of prior convictions of the charge.
A first offense, for example, that doesn’t result in bodily injury or damage to property should be treated like a misdemeanor with up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail or probation. A second or subsequent charge carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
A reckless driving charge resulting in bodily injury or property damage is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail or probation.
If serious injury results, the charge is elevated to a third-degree felony. Penalties are now increased to up to five years in jail or probation and up to a $5,000 fine.
So, as you can see, not only can the charges be far-reaching, the penalties can vary widely with fines from $500 to $5,000 and from six months probation to five years in jail.
How Long will a Reckless Driving Charge Stay on Your Driving Record? A reckless driving charge can add four points to a driving record in Florida. In most instances, reckless driving can stay on a driving record for three to five years. When there are serious injuries that result in the charges, it could stay on a Florida driving record for as long as ten years.
Why is a Reckless Driving Citation Worth Fighting?
Reckless driving is worth fighting due to the heavy potential fines, the possibility of jail time and the lengthy period points may stay on a driving record. It also may be worth fighting because of the sometimes arbitrary and subjective way in which the charges are sometimes applied.
For example, a reckless driving conviction can’t be supported if it is simple carelessness or negligence resulted in the charge. The reckless driving needs to be knowing or purposeful, meaning the driver must be aware they are driving in a reckless manner. That can be a challenge to prove.
At TicketMom, we’ve made it our business to understand the law and to ensure our clients have every tool available to them to fight tickets, including charges of reckless driving. If you are ready to fight, we encourage you to contact TicketMom. Our goal? No points, no court appearance, and no traffic school.