Florida Reckless Driving Attorney
What Are Florida Reckless Driving Laws?
What is reckless driving? Under Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is when someone drives a vehicle in a willful manner or with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. ‘Willful’ means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely, whereas ‘wonton’ describes when a person drives with a conscious and intentional indifference to consequences and knowledge that property damage or personal injury is likely.
Some examples of reckless driving include:
- Disregarding or disobeying traffic control devices or traffic signs, like running stop signs or red lights
- Driving and texting
- Driving the wrong way down the street
- Drunk driving
- Failing to yield right-of-way or look for pedestrians
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Speeding and excessive speeding
- Unsafely changing lanes
Additionally, the law states that reckless driving includes when a person is fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle.
Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving
The main difference between these two traffic offenses is that while reckless driving is intentional, careless driving is not. Careless driving is when one makes a mistake or fails to pay attention. The driver fails to operate the vehicle in a ‘careful and prudent’ manner.
For example, you can get a careless driving traffic ticket for the following:
- Failing to signal intentions, such as not signaling before changing lanes or turning
- Falling asleep or dozing off at the wheel
- Holding personal items in your hand(s) while driving
- Improper lane change
Because it’s not intentional, careless driving is a civil offense. On the other hand, reckless driving is a second-degree misdemeanor and can go on your criminal record.
It’s also easy to confuse reckless driving with aggressive driving. The National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when one commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that will cause danger to other persons or property.
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Florida?
Under Florida law, reckless driving charges include a jail sentence and fine.
For a first offense, the offender will receive, at most, 90 days of jail time and a fine between $25 and $500.
However, for a second reckless driving offense, the convicted will receive a maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine between $50 and $1,000.
If the reckless driving incident damages another person’s property, the criminal offense will be a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty is up to one year in jail or probation and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If the reckless driving incident causes serious bodily injury to another individual, the state will upgrade the charge to a third-degree felony. The state of Florida defines serious bodily injury as a physical condition that creates the following:
- Protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ
- Serious personal disfigurement
- Substantial risk of death
The penalty for a third-degree felony in Florida is up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
How Does a Reckless Driving Charge Impact Your License?
In Florida, a reckless driving conviction doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose your license. But you will receive points on your license, which lasts for 36 months.
Reckless driving is a four-point offense. If you receive 12 points within one year or 24 points within three years, the state will suspend your license.
Thus, if you already have points on your record or receive multiple reckless driving convictions in a short timeframe, you may lose your license.
It’s also possible for the police officer to cite other offenses along with your reckless driving incident, which could cause you to receive more than four points on your record if convicted. For example, if the officer also cites you for speeding more than 15 mph over the limit, you’ll likely receive an additional four points. This one offense would add eight points to your record!
This is why it’s essential to work with a lawyer when dealing with a reckless driving offense. An experienced reckless driving lawyer can potentially help reduce or drop the charges against you, making it less likely you’ll lose driving privileges.
Auto Insurance Rates
In addition to possible criminal charges, a reckless driving conviction will lead to higher auto insurance rates. Insurance companies usually charge more for coverage for those with an unfavorable driving record.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for premiums to double or triple after a reckless driving conviction, and these rates could stay in place for years to come.
Disclaimer: the price change in insurance rates will vary from case to case depending on the infraction, prior convictions on your driving record, and other factors.
How Can A Florida Reckless Driving Attorney Help?
Hiring a Florida traffic ticket attorney from a reputable law firm is the best way to fight the charges against you. A criminal defense attorney will help you understand Florida traffic laws and the charges you’re facing.
Not to mention, they can also craft a defense to try to reduce or drop the charges so you encounter less severe penalties. It’s not uncommon for a Florida reckless driving attorney to get the state to drop a reckless driving charge to a careless driving charge if the circumstances allow it.
If you try to fight the charges yourself, you likely won’t impact the judge’s decision about your case. If you speak too freely, you could even make the situation worse for yourself by accidentally admitting to further offenses.
Our Process: What to Expect When Working with a Reckless Driving Attorney at Florida Ticket Firm
When you work with the Florida Ticket Firm, we’ll begin by having you come to our law office for a free consultation. We’ll do an entire case evaluation to learn about the charges against you, the evidence available, and possible defenses that could help.
After the initial meeting, if you agree to continue with our firm, we will formally commence the attorney-client relationship. Our expert lawyers will help gather more evidence to support a winnable defense and provide legal advice about your reckless driving case. They will support you through each stage of the process and always represent your best interests.
When Charged with Reckless Driving, You Need a Proven Lawyer
Reckless driving involves the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle constitutes reckless driving. That means if you try to evade, avoid, escape, or otherwise “lose” a law enforcement officer while driving a motor vehicle, you’ll be charged with reckless driving in addition to the other serious criminal penalties you will undoubtedly face.
If charged with reckless driving, you face serious consequences, including imprisonment and the mandatory revocation of your driver’s license if serious personal injury or death resulted from your actions. Florida Ticket Firm in Tampa and its criminal defense lawyers know the high stakes involved when facing reckless driving charges and how best to address and counter criminal reckless driving charges.
Fighting Charges and Getting Them Dismissed
Reckless driving can take many forms, but what they all have in common is that the person driving is driving as if they could care less about anyone or anything. Someone who is driving recklessly might be haphazardly swerving in and out of thick traffic with no real space to change lanes, but they are going to move over regardless.
Not only could you be charged with an improper lane change or course, but you could also be charged with reckless driving. Driving erratically could get you pulled over for reckless driving. Sometimes, charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are reduced to reckless driving charges.
We are prepared to defend you and do our best to get the charges reduced or dismissed. And remember, you should not attempt to defend yourself when charged with reckless driving. We can guide you.
Set Up a Meeting Now
If you’re facing charges of reckless driving, Florida Ticket Firm in Tampa is prepared to represent you. For a free initial consultation, send us an email or call 844-352-3476—se habla español.