Getting convicted of a reckless driving charge in California is a misdemeanor crime. This means that you can be ordered to pay high fines as well as serving jail time. But, the most expensive penalty could likely involve the increase in your insurance premiums. These consequences stay on your record and can be extremely detrimental to other parts of your life, which means things can get a lot more difficult for you.
The minimum fine is $145. After adding county and state surcharges, fees, and assessments it is closer to $700, and the maximum base fine of $1000 will be closer to $3000. Plus, you could be sentenced to serve five to 90 days in the county jail.
How to Prevent a Reckless Driving Charge
Since this type of ticket can have severe consequences, you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to avoid getting one. Below are some simple things you can do to help ensure that you are doing the right thing and reduce the risk of getting charged with reckless driving.
1. The number one issue with reckless driving starts with “road rage.” With so much traffic on the roads, some drivers are late for work or an appointment. And then, someone cuts them off without using their blinker or even a wave to say, “Sorry about that!”
While driving, we all need to avoid contributing to road rage. Just calm down and realize it is not a race, a contest, or a competition. Use your blinker when changing lanes so that everyone knows your plans. The law says to signal your intentions at least 100 feet before you make a lane change on the highway.
2. Abide by the traffic laws. This includes stopping when you're supposed to and not driving at a high rate of speed when the posted speed is low, especially in road construction areas, school, and hospital zones. Fines are doubled in these areas, and CA fines are already too high.
Although CA does not tie an exact rate of speed to a reckless driving charge, as do some states, when a law enforcement officer (LEO) sees a willful disregard for the safety of others, that fits the bill for reckless driving.
3. Make sure you aren't distracted while driving. This includes texting, messing with the radio, eating, or doing your makeup. Get a coffee pot with a timer so you can make coffee the night before and have an extra 10 minutes in the morning to eat and put on makeup or shave. Try to get to bed a little earlier so that you are better rested, then you won’t be so angry when you’re cut off.
4. Make sure you keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. If they stop suddenly, you don't want to ram into the back of them.
CA Vehicle Code, 23103, Driving Offensesstates that reckless driving is "the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."This could be several different things but some of the common issues are, driving in the same lane with oncoming traffic; running a red light at a high rate of speed; screeching tires in a residential or business district (although this could be a violation of a couple of other laws as well); running several stop signs; driving on the sidewalk; and driving at high speeds through areas with a lot of people.
How to Handle a Reckless Driving Ticket
With a reckless driving ticket being a misdemeanor, it has much more severe consequences than just a routine speeding ticket. Not only are the fines higher, but you could serve jail time. If you don't win your case, the conviction, fines, and jail time will stay on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) for ten years and your criminal record for life. Having that on your record will make other parts of your life harder, like trying to find employment.
Consulting a lawyer that has fought these cases before and is experienced and well-versed in traffic law is crucial when fighting a reckless driving charge. Fighting and winning this misdemeanor crime will keep your record clear, keep you out of jail, and on the job. Having a lawyer who knows how to fight and win a reckless driving charge could be crucial to your freedom and financial security!
Consult a Misdemeanor Traffic Attorney for Kern County
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, before you make any statement to law enforcement or a Kern County District Attorney (DA) regarding a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. Accepting a plea bargain from the DA is an admission of guilt. Consult with a traffic ticket defense lawyer like Bigger & Harman, APC before you agree to anything or even make a statement. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
Bigger & Harman will charge you a flat rate to defend you no matter how many hours it takes or how many court appearances it takes to resolve.
Send them an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include as much detail as possible and a scanned copy of the ticket. They will reply with a summary of options or call you if you leave a number.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 23103, Driving Offenses
The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdfThe 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors. pdf