Reckless driving is taken very seriously in the State of Florida. If you were operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner that intentionally puts your life and the lives of other road users at risk, then you will be held accountable in a court of law.
If you were excessively speeding or behaving in a negligent manner, then most likely, a police officer pulled you over. A charge of reckless driving could be classed as a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on the circumstances and facts surrounding your case in Punta Gorda. Either way, you will need a criminal defense attorney to provide you with the support and guidance that you need to make the right decisions for your case.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of collective experience in fighting for the rights of drivers who have behaved recklessly or carelessly behind the wheel in Punta Gorda and all over the State of Florida. If you call our office today to set up a free consultation, a criminal defense attorney will explain the process to you and answer all of your questions and concerns. Our team of criminal defense attorneys will work hard to build a strong defense strategy that will decrease the charges and minimize the consequences of your reckless driving charges.
Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation today, and a criminal defense attorney will fight against your reckless driving charges in Punta Gorda. Phone lines are open 24/7.
Definition of Reckless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL.
Florida Statute 316.192 defines reckless driving as:
“Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”
The term ‘willful’ means knowingly, purposefully, and intentionally, and the term ‘wanton’ means having an intentional indifference to the consequences and knowing the damage that will be caused to persons or property.
In most cases, reckless driving is difficult to prove due to its subjective definition in court. More often than not, the jury will be asked to determine the intent and mental state of the driver by analyzing their driving pattern at the time.
What Is the Difference Between Reckless Driving and Careless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL?
It is not unusual for people to confuse careless driving and reckless driving citations. However, it is important to understand the distinctions between the two. The penalties are very different, but both citations involve a motor vehicle being operated in a negligent manner.
Reckless driving is usually a difficult case for police officers to investigate, meaning that it is not exactly well-defined under Florida law. A charge of reckless driving is recognized for operating a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property. Reckless driving involves a certain state of mind that often results in dangerous actions on the road, which means that the intent of the driver will be analyzed. In most cases, a charge of reckless driving can be reduced to a charge of careless driving.
Careless driving is similar to reckless driving, but in many cases, the driver involved will have unintentionally committed the traffic offense – usually by not paying attention or misjudging the distance on the road. A charge of careless driving tends to come down to the driver failing to operate their vehicle in a careful and mindful way. In this case, the driver’s state of mind will not be analyzed. A charge of careless driving is not as serious as reckless driving, and it can possibly get dismissed once the driver completes a course at a traffic school that has been approved by the State of Florida.
Types of Reckless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL.
Reckless driving can be seen as a dangerous act on the roadways and highways in the State of Florida. There are a number of different behaviors that can be recognized as or contribute to reckless driving, and they include:
- Driving at high speeds.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Drag racing.
- Failing to yield.
- Failing to use signals.
- Improper passing.
- Passing a school bus.
- Disregarding traffic signs.
- Ignoring weather conditions.
- Multiple traffic violations.
It is imperative that you hire a criminal defense attorney for your case, as they will be able to negotiate for a more lenient resolution to your reckless driving charges. A criminal defense attorney might even be able to file a motion to dismiss, which will claim that uncontested evidence does not support your crime on the road in Punta Gorda.
What Speed Is Considered Reckless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL?
A person cannot be charged with reckless driving based on speed alone – even though speed is an important aspect to consider in a reckless driving case in Punta Gorda. For example, you would not be considered guilty of reckless driving even if you were driving 70 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone. You must also display other types of irresponsible behavior, proving that you showed wanton disregard for other road users in order for you to be charged with reckless driving in Punta Gorda.
Here are some of the main examples of irresponsible behaviors that could contribute to a reckless driving charge alongside excessively speeding:
- Racing other vehicles on the road.
- Texting or getting distracted by other things while driving at high speeds.
- Running red lights or stop signs.
- Ignoring right of way for other road users.
- Swerving, swaying, and not staying in one lane.
- Driving past public transport in a reckless manner.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL.
The consequences that you could face for reckless driving will depend on the facts of your case in question.
Here are some of the main penalties for a charge of reckless driving in Punta Gorda:
- Reckless driving first offense – The penalties include having to pay a fine of up to $500, 6 months of probation, and spending up to 90 days in jail.
- Reckless driving with a prior conviction – The penalties include having to pay a fine of up to $500, 6 months of probation, and spending up to 6 months in jail.
- Reckless driving involving property damage – The penalties include having to pay a fine of up to $1,000, 1 year of probation, and spending up to 1 year in jail.
- Reckless driving involving serious bodily injury – The penalties include having to pay a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years of probation, and spending up to 5 years in prison.
- Reckless driving as a habitual felony offender – As per Florida Statute 775.084, the penalties could possibly include a prison term of 10 years, a prison term of 10 years without parole for the first 5 years, or a prison term of 15 years with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
A reckless driving conviction can result in serious criminal penalties. That is why a criminal defense attorney will be highly beneficial for your case, and they will defend your legal rights no matter what. Reach out to The Law Place to schedule a free consultation today.
Points on Your Driver’s License in Punta Gorda, FL.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) operates under a points system that determines the suspension of a driver’s license. If a driver received a ticket or they were arrested for committing a moving violation, then a certain amount of points will be assigned to the driver. Receiving too many points within a specific period of time can result in the revocation or suspension of their driver’s license.
For example, a reckless driving conviction will add 4 points to your driver’s license. It is important for you to be aware that this is the highest amount of points that a person can receive for committing a moving violation under Florida law. For instance, If you were to get two more 4 point moving violations added to your driving record within 12 months, then it could result in your license being suspended for up to 30 days. Furthermore, accumulating 18 points within the time period of 18 months will result in your license being suspended for up to 3 months. Lastly, gaining 24 points within the time period of 36 months will result in your license being suspended for up to 12 months.
Defense Strategies for Reckless Driving in Punta Gorda, FL.
The criminal defense lawyers at The Law Place have reduced countless reckless driving in Punta Gorda and throughout the State of Florida. It is not easy to prove a charge of reckless driving due to the fact that the prosecution has to prove that the driver displayed willful disregard for another person or property. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to understand the charge that you have been issued. Our law firm will investigate the details of your criminal case in order to structure the best defense strategy to combat your charges in Punta Gorda.
It is worth you answering the following questions to see if they apply to your unique case, as it will help your criminal defense attorney to formulate your defense:
- Were you the one operating the motor vehicle?
- Were there people or property close enough to be at risk by your driving?
- Were you operating your motor vehicle in a manner that showed willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other road users, or were you simply careless behind the wheel?
- Were there any eyewitnesses who might be able to challenge the reckless driving accusations on your behalf?
- Is your charge based entirely on excessive speed?
- Is your charge based on the observations of the police officer, or is it supported by video footage?
- Is there a mitigating situation involved?
Contact The Law Place Today in Punta Gorda, FL.
If you have been arrested and charged with reckless driving in Punta Gorda, then you might be wondering what you can do to protect your future. The best chance you will have of securing a reasonable outcome for your case is to hire a criminal defense attorney today.
The Law Place has over seventy-five years of combined experience and knowledge in fighting traffic tickets and defending the legal rights of clients who are facing reckless driving charges in Punta Gorda and all over the State of Florida. Our practice areas cover all types of traffic violations, ranging from driving under the influence, distracted driving, careless driving, reckless driving, and much more.
Our law firm has managed hundreds of traffic tickets and traffic violations over the years, and we will work tirelessly to help you avoid the consequences of a reckless driving charge. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has the necessary skills and resources to investigate your case, gather facts and information, speak to eyewitnesses, negotiate with the prosecutor and develop a strong defense strategy that will either get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Pick up your phone to call our office today, and one of our criminal defense attorneys will be ready to discuss your case and answer all of your questions. Our phone lines are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week so that you can speak to us at a time that is convenient for you.
Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation today, and a criminal defense attorney will fight against your reckless driving charges in Punta Gorda.