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CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23103Driving Offenses, warns, “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.” It could also be reckless driving in an off-street parking facility.”

What Is Reckless Driving

Sometimes, it is more crucial to determine what is NOT reckless driving. A driver could be charged with other violations along with reckless driving, such as speeding, participating in a street race, speed contest, or exhibition of speed. However,  speeding by itself, no matter how fast, is not reckless driving. 

CVC Section 22350Speed Laws, the fundamental speed law for the state says, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent…” given conditions.

You can find several articles on the internet that correlate speed and reckless driving in California. Some will say 15 mph over the speed limit, while another states 25 mph over the posted speed limit is reckless driving. These were obviously not written by traffic attorneys. The fact is that these are two separate charges.  

That precedent was established in 1937 that, “Speed in itself and alone is not sufficient to establish willful misconduct.” There must be other circumstances that show a willful disregard for safety. 

Some people, including some law enforcement officers (LEOs), consider speeding over 100 mph, reckless driving. However, a CA Superior Court judge or a jury of your peers, if the charge is a misdemeanor, are the only ones who can determine your guilt.

What Are the Penalties for a Reckless Driving Conviction?

First, when you are charged with reckless driving, your car could be impounded, which can be very expensive. You should contact a traffic attorney right away, the longer your car stays impounded, the more it will cost. 

If convicted of reckless driving, the base fine could be $145 to $1,000, plus the county and state penalties, assessments, and add-ons, ten in all, which will make the fine as much as five times higher than the base. You face five to ninety days in the Kern County jail, or both fine and jail.

You should exercise your “right to remain silent” until you speak with a traffic attorney who has experience with criminal cases.

Traffic Attorneys Who Handle Reckless Driving Charges in Kern County, CA 

Contact Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, in Bakersfield. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We have experience as traffic attorneys that handle misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, speed contests, an exhibition of speed, hit and run, and others. 



The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 23103Driving Offenses

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