By: William C. Head, Award-Winning Reckless Driving Lawyer and Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me in Metro Atlanta Georgia
The traffic ticket known as “reckless driving” (RD) is characterized as a serious driving offense in virtually every state in America. The crime in one state can be greatly different in another, so do not look for one reckless driving definition. Thus, to answer the question of can you go to jail for reckless driving is yes, but this is not common not in all states, including Georgia.
By way of example, In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor (like a VA RD charge) is punishable by going to jail for not more than twelve months and fined not more than $2,500. Persons charged with RD in VA need to get an experienced reckless driving attorney in every case!
Differences exist between each state’s categorization of a reckless driving charge (e.g., such as when a RD ticket can support a felony, in an accident case), and in the punishment and points for driving recklessly. Plus, you must look to each state to know how fast in reckless driving by speed alone might be.
One word of caution. If a crash has occurred, of any type, and a personal injury to another is alleged, you need to be very careful of self-representation. Seeking to resolve the case to a lesser charge is the minimum that needs to be accomplished, if not dismissed of diverted through taking a driving safety course.
Whether you are trying to get a DUI to reckless driving reduction or trying to avoid being convicted of a reckless driving Georgia citation, our criminal attorneys near me are up to the challenge. When evidence supports our criminal defense strategy, our reckless driving attorneys know how to get a reckless driving ticket dismissed.
The purpose of writing this article is to show the good, bad and difficult task ahead if reckless driving threatens your right to drive. While some speeders get away with a warning. Cops are told to either arrest or cite reckless drivers.
This article will set forth our law firm’s clients 10 most common questions and answers about the traffic offense known as “reckless driving.”
RD is a felony in a few states, for repeat offenders. In many states, a felony reckless driving crime can be accused in connection with accidents (from driving recklessly) and causing:
a. Death to another person or fetus (vehicular homicide GA);
b. Serious bodily injury by driving with reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property;
c. (in a few jurisdictions) through being a repeat offender, with prior convictions, as defined by state law. Reckless driving Virginia laws have some of the nation’s toughest laws on reckless driving.
Punishment for a felony is typically defined as being a crime with more than one year in state prison, in most states. Most laws allow for this to be probated, unless death or serious injury are part of the felony case.
In most states the criminal charge of RD is a serious misdemeanor, even for a first-time reckless driving. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail or on probation.
As to collateral punishment, such as loss of driver’s license of rehabilitation requirements, to be able to drive again, each state dictates those rules. For example, a second DUI in South Carolina causes license suspension, but not in Georgia or Florida. Plus, a few states (like California) have a “wet reckless” law that suspends the driver’s right to drive, when a DUI is reduced to RD in CA.
Driving in “reckless disregard for persons or property” is part of most states’ laws. The intentionally vague language allows a police officer to “paint a picture” for a jury, as to the manner that the driver disregarded the safety of one or more people, or property, by the driving conduct observed.
Sometimes, citizens who saw the dangerous driving conduct on the roadway make the best state witnesses. He or she can give details of what is wreckless driving, for this accused motorist.
Except in about 5% to 10% of all Georgia DUI cases, getting a DUI dismissed is unlikely. This is question of obtaining a reduction from a driving under the influence charge necessitates a state-by-state analysis. So, asking a DUI attorney, “Can you get a DUI reduced to reckless driving?” can’t be simply answered.
Some states have passed statutes criminalizing the act of a prosecutor to reduce ANY DUI to any other charge. Oregon is one such state and NC is another. In other states, like reckless driving in GA, South Carolina and Florida, a DUI lawyer near me can and does do this in many cases, but the availability of reckless driving in Georgia varies greatly between courts and prosecutors.
This issue how many reckless driving points are assessed to a state DMV, MVR, DPS or BMV record is determined by state law, also. Because the demerit point system in each state in unique to that jurisdiction, for out of state drivers, he or she could be banned from driving (if convicted of RD) is a state like Virginia, and have up to 6 points added to his or her in-state record (e.g., South Carolina).
If your traffic ticket lawyer can get a speeding ticket disposition, and nor the more serious misdemeanor of reckless driving, this may be a “win” for you, and keep you from being suspended for operation of a vehicle in your state.
Some states (like North Carolina and Virginia) call for immediate suspension upon conviction of reckless driving. Others, like South Carolina, add 6 points on the person’s license, which automatically boosts car insurance premiums, under their integrated system of assigning points to all traffic tickets.
Georgia assigns 4 reckless driving points at Georgia DDS, and a nolo contendere plea (if allowed by the Judge) can make that zero points at the Georgia Department of Driver Services. For teenage drivers under age 21, though, the points cannot be avoided, and a RD in Georgia suspends for 6 months.
In some states, laws are in place that make excessive speed at a specific number of miles per hour over the posted limit an “automatic” reckless driving ticket. Virginia and North Carolina have such laws, and a conviction causes license suspension.
Other states, like Georgia, have converted excessive speeding into a “tax,” under its super speeder GA law. This law pops the heavy-footed driver for $200, on TOP of all other criminal fines and surcharges, that can easily exceed $1000.
Thus, in Georgia, a driver traveling on a two-lane road at 74 miles per hour in a 35 MPH zone does not pay the super speeder penalty, but the driver driving at 75 MPH or more on the same road must pay it. So, each state decides the exact statutory language and operative number of miles per hour over the posted limit.
Once again, state law determines issues like availability of a “record restriction,” or aging off a driving history or criminal record. In Georgia, misdemeanor reckless driving stays on the driver’s record for life.
In most states, no. Convictions, however, and the length of time such traffic ticket misdemeanors can stay on a person’s record is controlled by that state’s motor vehicle laws. In California, it can be expunged after an extensive waiting period of 10 years. Georgia reckless driving law has no expungement option, once the conviction is entered.
No fixed rule for how much is a reckless driving ticket applies. Fines in many states are fixed, or have a minimum and maximum fine, under state laws. Other states, like Georgia, do not have a minimum, but (by statute) has a maximum fine for simple misdemeanors of $1000, plus surcharges that add another 40% or so to that.
Yes, in all states. It is also a “predicate” serious driving offense that allows a prosecutor to accuse a death or serious bodily injury as a felony, in almost 100% of the states. For some clients, one of the consequences of reckless driving jail time is being fired.
This is how Wikipedia defines reckless driving: In United States law, reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. It is usually a more serious offense than careless driving, improper driving, or driving without due care and attention and is often punishable by fines, imprisonment, or driver’s license suspension or revocation.
Plus, reckless driving penalties, in egregious cases, may require jail time. One example of this is a driver’s failure to stop once blue lights are activated. At a minimum, a driver improvement course like Georgia’s defensive driving course could be court-ordered.
Reckless Driving in Georgia, and Not a DUI?
Do you need our assistance in trying to get a DUI reduced to reckless driving? Considering the huge difference in penalties in Georgia, reckless driving vs DUI is a “no-brainer” if we can obtain that for our clients’ DUI in Georgia, for most people.
Fortunately, each year, our law group’s attorneys can accomplish that in hundreds of cases that began as drunk driving cases. The Georgia DDS does not keep up with statistics on Georgia cases that start as a DUI arrest, but ends up with a reckless disposition.
Reckless driving in GA can be a huge problem, in car accidents, plus can suspend the license of a driver under age 21 in Georgia. Insurance premiums will soar, if a Georgia auto insurance carrier sees either a reckless driving or a license suspension for a young driver on your policy.
Police are authorized to arrest a person driving in reckless disregard of persons or property, such as going over 100 mph on Georgia 400. See this recent news story from Atlanta rapper Lil Baby being arrested from reckless driving.
Reckless driving Georgia is a misdemeanor, NOT a traffic infraction. Learn your rights, your options and your potential penalties BEFORE going to Court alone.
Our traffic ticket lawyers, William “Bubba” Head, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager, have a statewide network of expert traffic ticket lawyers near me, and can refer you to a specialist, if your case is outside the metro Atlanta area. Call our 24-hour attorneys for a FREE lawyer consultation near me. 404-567-5515.
Additional links about driving in a reckless manner:
Grand Theft auto (GTA) video game teaches reckless maneuvers
PSA (public service announcement) from VW, at a Singapore movie theater
Link for students seeking to find graphics on clipart, posters, cartoons for a project