California is a big state, filled with lots of cars and lots of drivers. Unfortunately, California has some of the most dangerous roads in the country. In an attempt to increase the safety of these roads, those driving with disregard for this safety are charged with driving crimes. Reckless driving is one of the several California driving crimes.
Reckless driving is a simple charge characterized by a person driving with willful disregard for yours, another person's or someone's property safety. You can be charged with reckless driving for driving at a speed over 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, passing a school bus or other vehicle with the right to stop traffic, racing or driving too fast for road conditions. These would result in what is sometimes called a dry reckless driving charge. You could be charged with wet reckless driving if alcohol was involved, but you were under the legal limit. This is generally used as a plea bargain for those who could be facing a DUI. For this reason, a wet reckless driving charge counts as a DUI on your record for the purposes of sentencing a subsequent DUI charge. For example, if you get a wet reckless driving charge then later get a DUI, your DUI will be considered your second and your punishments will reflect that you are a prior offender. However, if you get a dry reckless charge, this does not count as a DUI on your record. However, they are both driving crimes and will show up on your criminal record. It is important to note the circumstances wherein you could be charged with reckless driving, as otherwise you could end up with nothing more than a traffic citation. There is a big difference between a traffic citation and a criminal charge so speak to a criminal defense attorney if you are facing reckless driving charges and you feel they should be reduced to a traffic citation. Reckless driving is a simple charge however in many cases there is no hard evidence and thus may be challenged in court.
Reckless driving is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Punishments for reckless driving include between 5 and 90 days in a county jail and a fine of between $145 and $1,000. If you have had prior reckless driving charges or you seriously injured or killed someone as a result of you reckless driving, you could face higher fines, more jail time and potentially even additional criminal charges. While they fine in most first offender cases where no one was injured may be capped at $1,000, the real cost of a reckless driving charge is the effect it will have on your insurance. You will also have to maintain an sr-22 insurance filing for three years. An sr-22 filing is proof of insurance that is submitted to the DMV. Specifically, it demonstrates that you have sufficient insurance coverage to be responsible for any serious accidents you cause. As a driver with a reckless driving charge, the DMV views you as high-risk and is essentially requiring you take extra steps to ensure you can pay for any damages you caused. In this case, basic liability coverage is not enough. SR-22 filing may mean your current auto insurance company will drop your coverage all together or raise your rates significantly. There are insurance companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers who have to maintain sr-22 filings however their rates are often very high. Maintaining an sr-22 filing for three years will be your biggest cost associated with a reckless driving charge and is reason enough to fight it. Reckless driving is actually a fairly common criminal driving charge. Celebrities all across California have gotten reckless driving charges for anything from excessive speeding to drag racing. Sometimes it is just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Consult with an experience criminal defense attorney who specializes in driving crimes to see what would be a likely outcome for your case.
Are you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and are facing a charge of reckless driving? The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for expert counsel on driving crime law and DMV proceedings. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.