No Florida driver wants Reckless Driving charges on their driving record. In fact, aside from a DUI conviction, reckless driving may be the most negative driving offense in Florida—or any other state. There are serious penalties associated with a conviction for reckless driving, as well as long-term consequences. While many people believe reckless driving is the same as careless driving, in fact there are significant differences between the two.
Careless driving in the state of Florida is a civil traffic offense, while reckless driving is a criminal traffic offense and requires a court appearance with possible criminal penalties. Under Florida Statutes, Section 316.192, any person who “drives a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” An example of careless driving would be causing an accident by rolling through a stop sign. On the other hand, if you caused the accident by blowing through the stop sign at 70 mph, you would likely be charged with reckless driving.
Penalties Associated with Reckless Driving in the State of Florida
The penalties for reckless driving in the state of Florida can be fairly severe, including the following:
- You could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail if you are convicted of reckless driving;
- You could face a minimum fine of $25 and a maximum fine of $500 if you are convicted of reckless driving;
- If you receive a second reckless driving conviction following the first, you could spend up to six months in jail and face a fine from $50 to $5,000;
- If you are charged with reckless driving, and you also caused damage to another person’s property, your charges will be upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor;
- If you are charged with reckless driving, and you also caused injury to another person during the reckless driving, you could be charged with a third-degree felony, and
It is important to note that in addition to the criminal penalties you will face for a reckless driving conviction, you will also get 4 points on your license and your insurance rates will skyrocket, in some cases to the point they become unaffordable. In addition, you will have a reckless driving conviction on your record—something potential employers could see, and use to make an adverse decision on your employment.
Potential Defenses to Reckless Driving Charges in Florida
The specific circumstances surrounding your reckless driving charges will determine how your criminal defense attorney will approach your charges and build your defense, however some of the more common defenses used in this situation include:
- You were not actually driving the vehicle in question;
- Your behavior did not rise to the level of willful or wanton;
- Your driving patterns were not intentional, purposeful or knowing;
- There were extenuating circumstances at hand;
- There were no people or property nearby to endanger;
- The witness(s) were not reliable;
- The police officer’s assessment is subjective without any supporting evidence, or
- Your reckless driving charges are based only on an allegation of excessive speed.
It is important to note that a conviction for reckless driving in the state of Florida cannot be based only on excessive speed, but must contain additional elements of reckless behaviors.
Getting the Legal Help You Need with Your Reckless Driving Charges
It is extremely important that you contact an experienced Florida reckless driving attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged with the offense. The knowledgeable criminal attorneys at The Law Place have helped many people facing the same charges you now face. Our criminal defense attorneys may be able to have your charges reduced to a civil infraction, avoid a conviction on your record, or even have the charges dropped. Take your charges of reckless driving seriously—contact The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.