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Reckless Driving Defined By California LawCalifornia Law & Reckless Driving

In the state of California, reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime with considerable consequences. While it may seem like a minor crime, it can land you in jail according to California law. Thus, reckless driving is something that no one should take lightly. A driver could be charged with this offense if they were caught speeding, swerving, or tailgating. It is any driving tactic that is dangerous and shows disregard or negligence for the safety of other drivers and property.

Negligent Operator Treatment System NOTS

NOTS is a system of assigning points for moving traffic violations; you cannot be assigned points for parking tickets. Although parking in a handicapped zone makes you inconsiderate, it does not make you negligent. These negligent driving points can stay on your driving record for up to seven years and affect how much you pay for insurance. Reckless driving and other negligent acts, such as DUI may be two or more points and remain on your record longer.

Many drivers consider, “I got the ticket, I’ll just have to take the points and pay more in insurance premiums. Nothing I can do anyway.” Well, that’s not exactly true. First, you could attend a state-certified traffic school to eliminate points, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), but were not operating a commercial vehicle. However, you can only do this every 18 months and if you have just recently completed one, you are not eligible. Second, you can contest the ticket.

Circumstances Where Traffic School Will Not Help

The following offenses during will not be suppressed by traffic school:

  • Reckless Driving
  • DUI
  • Driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit (without special consideration from judge)
  • Tailgating

Kiss that safe driver discount goodbye and say hello to a potential 36 percent rise in your insurance rate for at least three years, maybe seven to ten depending on the severity.

Potential Consequences

There are many consequences when you are found guilty of this offense. You could face thousands of dollars in fines; typically, you will get two or two and one-half points (CDL) on your license; charged with a criminal offense, with probation, or up to 90 days in jail for first offenders and up to six months for repeat offenders; suspension or revocation of your driving privileges; and your insurance company will consider you a high-risk driver and increase your premiums significantly, if they decide to keep you.

On top of this, you will also have a criminal conviction on your record which can become an obstacle when looking to get certain jobs. Therefore, reckless driving is something that you will want to avoid and if you believe you were falsely accused, you will want to contest the charge.

Legal Assistance to Contest the Charge

When you are charged with this offense, it will benefit you to seek the services of a qualified attorney who specializes in this type of crime. Bigger & Harman are traffic criminal defense attorneys. To learn more about how and if you should contest a reckless driving charge in Fresno, Mono, or San Luis Obispo contact Bigger & Harman today, 661-349-9300. By email:

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.
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