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The Reckless Driving Law in California

undefinedReckless driving is a disregard for traffic rules that might compromise the safety of other individuals on the road. In California, some of the most frequent causes of reckless driving are road rage, distracted, or aggressive driving. Reckless driving is not a traffic infraction with a mere fine; it is a grievous offense regarded as a misdemeanor crime. A conviction can result in a significant fine, incarceration, and suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. The following are some of the issues associated with driving recklessly.

The Relation Between Road Rage and Reckless Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving can cause grave dangers. It might occur when an individual violates traffic laws or endangers lives and properties. Aggressive driving can lead to reckless driving which can cause severe damages, fines, or imprisonment.

Is Aggressive Driving a Crime?

Traffic law varies from state to state, but in CA, aggressive driving that puts other drivers or property in danger is considered reckless driving, which is a crime. NHTSA estimates that road rage causes over sixty percent of accidents in the country. So, it is prudent to be careful when driving and follow the traffic regulations and avoid unsafe lane changes and following too closely.

Distracted Driving and the Textalyzer

For a long time, there have been concerns about using mobile phones and distractions while driving. Mobile phones and other electronic communication devices are believed to cause significant distractions that may lead to recklessness. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about textalyzers. Although these devices are not currently in use in CA, it can enable law enforcement to determine if the driver was using a mobile phone while driving, which is a violation of California’s distracted driving law and CVC 23123.5, Driving Offenses.

Methods to Prevent a Reckless Driving Ticket & the Penalties

The best approach to prevent a reckless driving conviction is to avoid driving behaviors that will get you a citation for endangering others while driving:

  • Ensure you have adequate visibility of the road ahead and to the sides.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and especially the blind spots.
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the roadway; many aggressive drivers inadvertently or intentionally cause incidents of road rage by following too closely.
  • Always obey traffic laws such as road signs, traffic control devices, and law enforcement officers (LEO), etc.
  • Remain calm and do not let another driver’s actions “get under your skin.”

Under the California Vehicle Code (CVC) 23103, Public Offenses paragraph (a) states, “A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Under CA law, a highway is considered as any roadway with public access and paragraph (b) goes on to include “off-street parking” facilities. Convictions include imprisonment of between five and ninety days, a base fine of between $145 and $1000 or both imprisonment and fine. However, don’t be misled by the seemingly low minimum fine. After state and county assessments, fees, and penalties are added, you will pay five to seven times that amount.

Contact a Kern County Attorney Immediately

Traffic accidents can be fatal, leading to severe injuries or sometimes death. However, most accidents can be avoided through careful driving. This involves following traffic rules, being alert, and ensuring you have adequate visibility. However, even the most careful and considerate driver can be accused of reckless driving or causing an accident.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime and can result in a substantial fine and possibly incarceration. It is therefore imperative to contact an attorney immediately before making any statement to law enforcement or an officer of the court. When you are charged with a criminal offense, you are protected by your Constitutional rights, including the “right to remain silent,” and it is advisable to exercise that right.

Bigger & Harman, APC offers a free initial consultation. Take advantage of that offer by calling (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Bigger & Harman, APC Criminal Defense Attorneys in Bakersfield, CA

Call Bigger & Harman when you have been ticketed for reckless driving or receive any traffic ticket in Kern County. Bigger & Harman have a solid reputation for dependability among drivers across the Central Valley area. Located in Bakersfield at 1701 Westwind Dr #203 in Bakersfield, they give advice and provide representation in criminal and traffic courts in all Central Valley counties.

Send them an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com. Visit their Facebook business page to get updated traffic information, or read comments and feedback left by their clients on Avvo and Nolo, or Yelp.

References:

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

CVC 23103, Public Offenses

CVC 23123.5, Driving Offenses