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Reckless Driving Is a Criminal Offense: Get an Attorney

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In California, reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime. When charged with reckless driving, or driving in a manner that is unsafe, then it's in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help you handle the ticket. A conviction of reckless driving could mean jail time along with a fine, Negligent Operator Treatment System Points (NOTS), significantly higher insurance premiums, plus a criminal record.

What Is Considered Reckless Driving?

According to CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 23103, Driving Offenses, an action that disregards the safety of other vehicles, passengers, pedestrians on the sidewalk or crossing the street, or other drivers on the road is an act of reckless driving. Reckless driving is not the same as a traffic infraction, such as driving over the speed limit or using a cell phone while driving. It is a criminal offense.

Most acts of reckless driving begin with some form of road rage. Aggressive driving, driving to endanger, swerving in and out of traffic, or other actions that can be described as imprudent could warrant an arrest for reckless driving. To prevent being charged with the crime, you should always drive defensively and obey traffic laws.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive or reckless driving as “a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” This definition is very close to the reckless driving traffic code’s “…willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property…” And, CA considers this a criminal action.

Why You Must Consult with a Kern County Attorney

Since reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime, it means that you could be both fined and receive jail time. Jail time could last anywhere from five days up to three months, while the fine can be $145 or can reach up to $1,000, which is without the addition of the ten state and county surcharges that could make it five times that amount. There is also the possibility of probation for up to two years.

As a misdemeanor, the act will not only get placed on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) for the next ten years; it could also become part of your criminal record for the rest of your life, which could limit employment options. With the help of a lawyer, your sentence could be reduced or dismissed, depending on the severity of your actions, the state’s ability to prove your guilt, and your previous record of convictions.

Since reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime, it will not be as simple as paying a fine. Hiring a lawyer to help you through the court proceedings can significantly increase your chances of a reduced jail term or probation, minimizing the fine, and the possibility of a full dismissal.

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to discuss your specific case. Your initial phone consultation is free, and you are under no obligation to retain us. However, we could represent you in Bakersfield Superior Court. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

Send an email to attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf

CVC 23103, Driving Offenses