Reckless Driving in Florida
Something that begins as a shout from the window and a rude hand gesture can quickly escalate to blazing full speed across the Courtney Cambell bridge. Weaving in and out of traffic in an attempt to make your appointment on time or pick up your child from school can result in accidents and injury. And attempting to evade law enforcement in your vehicle rarely ends well. All these actions can result in a charge of reckless driving in Florida.
Reckless Driving, by the Book
Reckless Driving in Florida: Florida Statute §316.192, states, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Your explanations for your driving are often irrelevant. The excuses of “late to a doctor’s appointment” or “avoiding a tailgater” are likely not sufficient claims to avoid a charge of reckless driving.
A Serious Charge
Unfortunately, this charge stands at the top of the worst driving offenses to have on one’s record, just after DUI and DWI. This is perhaps due to the state of mind of the driver because a charge of reckless driving in Florida goes beyond the sentiments of inattentive and neglectful to complete disregard for the safety of others and the laws meant to ensure that safety.
Reckless Driving–Willful or Wanton Behavior
The statue uses the words “willful or wanton” in the definition. This indicates that the driver must knowingly and intentionally decide to drive in such a manner and with the understanding that damage may be done to persons and/or property. It is more than not paying attention or being unaware. These would be negligent, and proving negligence is not sufficient for a reckless driving charge. Negligence, rather, is associated with the charge of careless driving. Careless Driving carries hefty penalties as well, but not as severe as those for reckless driving.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties for a first time offender of reckless driving in Florida include fines and/or imprisonment of up to 500 dollars and 90 days. If, however, you have a prior conviction for reckless driving, you may see up to a $1000 fine and 6 months in jail. Both these penalties assume you have not caused any damage when driving recklessly. Should that be the case, the penalties are even more severe. If you damage property or injure people, your charge becomes a misdemeanor of the third degree. Moreover, according to the statute, if you are in violation of reckless driving and cause “serious bodily injury to another,” your charge may become a felony of the third degree.
Losing Your License
Additionally, a charge of reckless driving will add 4 points to your license in the state of Florida, potentially causing a suspension of your license if you have too many points in a set time frame. In fact, three guilty verdicts of reckless driving within a year could cause you to permanently lose your license.
Facing Charges for Reckless Driving?
Have you been charged with reckless driving? Florida is very specific when it comes to a charge of reckless driving. It speaks specifically to the state of mind of the driver and intent. This definitely is not a charge you want on your record. Visit Bartlett Law Offices contact page, and let an experienced traffic attorney get started on your defense.
Bartlett Law Offices offers your best defense if you have been charged with any sort of crime—reckless driving or otherwise.
Visit our webpage, fill out our simple form, and we’ll call or text you back, as you prefer. Or, if you’d rather, call us Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m at 727-712-7502.
We believe that before you are in need of a second chance, you need the best defense for your first chance! Bartlett Law Offices has the experience you need to handle any criminal charges against you. You can trust that we will provide you with a professional, ethical, and knowledgeable defense.
NOTE: This information is specific to Florida. Laws in other states vary, and you should seek counsel in your own state. None of these statements is intended to replace professional counsel as to your specific issue as the nuances of the law are vast and complex.