Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties
16+ Years of Attorney Experience Representing Fort Lauderdale Drivers
Reckless driving cases are often nuanced in nature, as they could vary from minor traffic infractions to major accidents causing severe injury. If you have been charged with reckless driving, seek legal representation immediately. Our experienced traffic attorney at the Ticket & License Center can fight for reduced charges and minimum penalties in your case, or even an outright dismissal or acquittal. With over 16 years of experience handling more than 250,000 traffic ticket cases, the firm is equipped with the knowledge and skills to protect your driving privileges in a reckless driving case.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving?
In Florida, “reckless driving” is defined as:
- driving a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” or
- fleeing in a vehicle from a law enforcement officer.
“Willful” refers to conduct that is intentional or purposeful, and “wanton” means the driver understood but disregarded the consequences of their conduct.
Some common examples of reckless driving could be following too closely, speeding, or driving in any manner that showed you did not care about the safety of other people or property. While the consequences for small traffic violations like speeding are minor, the penalties severely increase to significant fines and jail time if the violation caused personal injury or death.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
The consequences of a Florida reckless driving conviction depend on the circumstances of your case. Your sentencing will be based on whether:
- there was property damage,
- anyone was injured (and the extent of the injuries), and
- you have prior reckless driving convictions.
In general, a first offense will include the following penalties:
- no more than 90 days in jail,
- $25 to $500 in fines, or
- both the jail time and fines.
On a second or subsequent conviction, the penalties will include:
- up to 6 months in jail,
- $50 to $1,000 in fines, or
- both the jail time and fines.
Note that racing is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a 1-year license suspension, and a fine of up to $1,000. Passengers who knew the driver was going to a race can also face the same penalties, as can race organizers.
A reckless driving offense involving property damage or minor injuries is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to 1 year in jail, and a motorist convicted of reckless driving involving “serious bodily injury” is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to 5 years in prison.
Be aware that Florida law defines “serious bodily injury” as one that creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment to any part of the body.
“Wet Reckless” Charges
In Florida, it is possible for a driver who’s charged with DUI to plea bargain for a reckless driving charge, a less serious offense. A reckless driving offense that involves drugs or alcohol is often referred to as a “wet reckless,” and a motorist who's convicted of a wet reckless must complete a DUI substance abuse education course and evaluation in addition to the standard reckless driving penalties. If you fail to report for or complete such a course as ordered by the court, they will suspend or revoke your driving privileges until you complete the DUI program.
Contact an Attorney Today. Schedule Your Free Consultation!
If you have been charged with reckless driving, contact an experienced traffic defense attorney immediately. They can make the difference between minimum and maximum penalties for your alleged offense, or have the charge dismissed entirely. The Ticket & License Center can efficiently assess the facts of your case and attempt to argue down the severity of your penalties or win the case altogether. The attorneys at the firm are equipped with years of trial experience and in-depth knowledge of Florida’s traffic law system, and you can trust them to fight aggressively for your reckless driving case.
*Success rate is defined here as no points or traffic school assessed by the court at the end of the case. Call (954) 525-4858 to schedule your free initial consultation today with the Ticket & License Center.