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How to Get a Reckless Driving Ticket Dismissed

Home » Blog » How to Get a Reckless Driving Ticket Dismissed

You’re not a bad driver, but one mistake landed you a reckless driving ticket in Florida. Your heart sinks as you imagine the fines, points, and potential jail time. But don’t panic – you have options.

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Florida, the first step to fighting back is understanding exactly what you’re up against. Florida Ticket Firm has tips on how to get a reckless driving ticket dismissed in Florida. With the right approach, you can fight these serious charges to try to clear your record.

Let’s explore the steps you need to take to get back on the road with a clean slate.

Definition of Reckless Driving in Florida

Under Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is defined as driving a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

In plain English, that means driving with excessive speed and/or complete disregard for anyone else on the road. Think speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and running red lights—basically, all the stuff you see in the Fast and Furious movies.

The key phrase here is “willful or wanton disregard.” That’s legalese, for knowing what you’re doing is dangerous, but doing it anyway.

Reckless driving is a serious offense and is considered a crime, not just a traffic violation. If you’re convicted, you’ll have a permanent criminal record. So, if you find yourself facing a reckless driving charge, it’s time to hire a lawyer and fight back with everything you’ve got.

Examples of Reckless Driving Behavior

Wondering what reckless driving looks like in action? Here are a few examples:

  • Excessive speeding (20+ mph over the limit)
  • Weaving in and out of traffic (like you’re in a high-speed chase)
  • Blowing through red lights and stop signs
  • Illegally passing other vehicles
  • Tailgating at extremely close distances
  • Intentionally slamming on your brakes to “teach someone a lesson”
  • Screeching around corners

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Florida

If you’re caught driving recklessly in the Sunshine State, brace yourself for some severe penalties – this criminal offense is no joke in Florida and can haunt you for years to come.

A first offense typically comes with these repercussions:

  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • A fine of $25 to $500
  • Or both jail time and a fine if you’re extremely unlucky

If you’re a repeat offender, the penalties double:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A fine of $50 to $1,000
  • Or the classic combo of both

If you cause property damage or bodily harm to someone else while driving recklessly? That bumps it up to a first-degree misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

And if you cause “serious bodily injury” (which is just as scary as it sounds), you’ve graduated to a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

License Suspension

According to Florida Statute § 322.26, if you are caught reckless driving three times in 12 months, your license will be permanently revoked.

Impact on Insurance Rates

Get ready to pay a whole lot more. Insurance companies view a reckless driving conviction as high risk, and they’ll raise your rates accordingly—sometimes by hundreds of dollars a month.

How a Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Florida, the first step is to contact an experienced reckless driving attorney for a free consultation. A skilled criminal defense attorney will thoroughly evaluate your case, looking for any weaknesses in the evidence or legal defenses that could get your charge dismissed or reduced.

Evaluating Your Case

During the initial consultation, your attorney will review the details of your traffic stop, the officer’s notes, and any available evidence, such as dash cam footage. They’ll ask you questions about what happened and look for inconsistencies or constitutional violations that could help your defense. Even small details can make a big difference.

Your law firm will then gather additional evidence to support your case. This may include:

  • Surveillance video from nearby businesses
  • GPS data from your phone or car
  • Witness statements disputing the officer’s account
  • Photos of the road conditions or signage
  • Expert analysis of the weather or traffic flow

The goal is to cast doubt on whether your driving actually endangered others and met the legal definition of reckless.

Negotiating with Prosecutors

Armed with this evidence, your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutors to get your reckless driving charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. They’ll highlight the holes in the state’s case and leverage your clean driving record, community ties, and other mitigating factors. Having a persuasive advocate on your side is critical.

Representing You in Court

If the prosecutor won’t budge, your attorney will argue your case at trial, cross-examining the officer and presenting your defense to the judge. You want a skilled litigator like the team at Florida Ticket Firm, who knows the ins and outs of Florida traffic law and isn’t afraid to fight for you in court if needed. Don’t face a reckless driving charge alone.

Strategies for Getting a Reckless Driving Ticket Dismissed

With the right strategy (and the right lawyer), you can fight back against your reckless driving charge. If you want to get out of a ticket, try these reliable methods that have helped many others fight their citations.

Disputing the Officer’s Observations

Here’s where things get a little tricky. In order to convict you of reckless driving, the state needs to prove that you were driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for safety.”

But what does that actually mean? It’s pretty subjective, and often comes down to the law enforcement officer’s observations and opinions.

Your lawyer can challenge the officer’s account of what happened and argue that your driving didn’t rise to the level of recklessness. Maybe you were speeding, but not excessively. Maybe you changed lanes without signaling, but it was an honest mistake.

Poking holes in the police officer’s story can cast doubt on the whole case against you.

Challenging the Radar or Laser Evidence

If your reckless driving charge is based on speeding the speed limit (and many cases are), the state will likely use radar or laser evidence to prove you were going too fast.

But here’s the thing: that evidence isn’t always reliable.

Radar guns and laser devices can malfunction, be improperly calibrated, or even pick up the wrong motor vehicle that’s speeding.

A skilled attorney will scrutinize any evidence brought against you, challenging its validity and fighting to have inadmissible material excluded from your trial: no speeding evidence, no reckless driving case.

Alternatives to Getting a Reckless Driving Ticket Dismissed

While getting your reckless driving charge completely dismissed is ideal, given the evidence, it’s not always possible. But you still have options to avoid the harshest penalties.

Negotiating a Plea Bargain

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense, which means negotiating a deal with the prosecutor. As mentioned, your lawyer can negotiate with the state to reduce your reckless driving charge to a lesser offense, like a careless driving ticket or a simple speeding ticket.

Careless driving is a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense. It carries lower fines, fewer points, and no risk of jail time. While it will still show up on your driving record, pleading for careless driving is a good alternative if an outright dismissal isn’t in the cards. It’s a common outcome in many reckless driving cases. While it’s not a total dismissal, it’s much better than a criminal conviction.

Opting for a plea bargain can be a game-changer. You might be able to dodge a jail sentence, hold onto your driver’s license, and keep your insurance rates from skyrocketing.

Completing Traffic School

In some cases, the court may be willing to dismiss your reckless driving charge if you agree to complete a state-approved traffic school course.

These courses are designed to help you become a safe, responsible driver. They’re usually pretty short—a few hours online or in a classroom—and once you complete them and show proof to the court, your charge gets dismissed.

Paying the Fine

If a dismissal or reduction isn’t possible, your final option is to pay the reckless driving fine and accept the penalties. Paying it will result in an adjudication of guilt on your record. However, you may be able to avoid points on your license by electing traffic school after paying the fine. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than a license suspension.

Preventing Future Reckless Driving Charges

Once you resolve your current reckless driving charge, it’s essential to take steps to lessen improper driving and avoid future tickets and convictions:

  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Obeying posted speed limits
  • Avoiding aggressive driving behaviors
  • Maintaining a safe following distance

The stakes get higher with each offense. You will want to avoid future infractions as the penalties become more severe.

Call Florida Ticket Firm to Fight Your Reckless Driving Charge

Fighting a reckless driving charge takes skill, strategy, and a whole lot of legal know-how. Move fast and hire a top-notch legal team to help you navigate the process.

A reckless driving charge doesn’t define you. How you handle it does. Call the experienced lawyers at Florida Ticket Firm today to protect your future and driving record.