Many people don’t know that they can fight a reckless driving ticket. In many cases, a driver will be charged with criminal reckless driving and receive a citation – and that puts people in a much tougher situation than they expected. Reckless driving is not a minor offense; it’s a very real criminal charge that can have life-changing consequences.
If the court convicts you of reckless driving, you will have a permanent criminal record. You could even spend time behind bars. Once you have a conviction on your record, it stays there unless you follow the formal procedures to have it expunged. Because potential employers, loan officers and landlords may be able to see your criminal record, the conviction may haunt you for the rest of your life.
Under California law, reckless driving is defined as exhibiting “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” while behind the wheel. The law categorizes reckless driving as a misdemeanor in many cases. Several actions behind the wheel can lead to a reckless driving charge, including speeding, swerving and tailgating. If the courts find you guilty of reckless driving, you could face up to 90 days of jail time and a maximum fine of $1000. Additionally, the state will add two demerit points to your driving record, and your insurance rates may go up.
The road rage law in California says that you will face criminal charges for extremely aggressive driving. The court may order your license to be suspended if you commit an assault on an operator or passenger of another vehicle, a bicyclist or a pedestrian when the offense occurs on highway. The court may also order that you participate in an anger management or “road rage” course.
When alcohol is involved in a reckless driving offense, the police call it “wet reckless driving.” A wet reckless driving, charge carries serious penalties, including:
A reckless driving offense is serious. The charge could cost you more than money; your future is on the line. The court has the power to send you to jail, and for the rest of your life you could have a criminal record that affects your employment prospects, your ability to get housing, and several other aspects of your life that most people take for granted. In many cases, it’s a good idea to talk to a reckless driving lawyer who can help you fight the charges the state has leveled against you. While only you can decide whether you want legal representation, it may be helpful to talk to a professional who understands California’s driving laws and how our court systems work. Your lawyer can:
It’s usually best if you get in touch with an attorney right away. The sooner you call a lawyer, the sooner he or she can begin protecting your rights and developing a strategy to help you fight reckless driving charges.
Because reckless driving charges are so serious, and because they carry potential penalties that include jail time, it may be in your best interest to talk to an attorney today. Call us at 916-303-2800 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We may be able to help you find your reckless driving charges.