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Driving Law 101: What You Should Know if You Receive a Reckless Driving Charge

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You're likely familiar with DUI and DWI charges, but how familiar are you with reckless driving charges? Odds are you've heard the term before, but hearing a term and actually knowing what it means are two very different things. Whether you've been charged with reckless driving or you're studying up in the event that you ever receive this charge, here's what you should know about reckless driving.

What is reckless driving?
First and foremost, you should know the basic definition of the charge. The language around this charge varies depending on the state you're in, but it most always uses the terms "reckless," "careless," or "negligent" to describe a driver's behavior. Essentially, a reckless driving charge can be issued if a driver exhibits behavior that deliberately breaks the law or puts others at risk. Some of the most common ways to phrase this charge include:

  • driving "recklessly," "in a reckless manner," with "reckless disregard"
  • driving "with disregard for the safety of others"
  • driving "at an immoderate rate of speed or in a careless or negligent manner"

What are some examples of reckless driving?
Whether you're familiar with the terminology reckless driving attorneys use or not, it's important to know what actually constitutes receiving a reckless driving charge. Here's a short list of actions that could result in just such a charge:

  • Driving well over the speed limit in a way that endangers other drivers
  • Disregarding red lights or stop signs in situations that put others at risk
  • Failing to yield to a right-of-way
  • Driving with broken or non-functional headlights or taillights
  • Neglecting to use turn signals or watch the road

Fortunately, simple errors in judgement aren't cause for reckless driving charges without additional evidence. For example, sudden stops or skids don't necessarily mean lawyers and police need to get involved.

Can a DUI charge be reduced to a reckless driving charge?
While reckless driving may be included in the language of a DUI charge, courts typically hold the two crimes separate and distinct. According to MADD, drunk driving costs almost $199 billion annually, while reckless driving may not necessarily entail lives lost or excessive damages that rack up debt. If you've been charged with DUI, you shouldn't be calling a reckless driving attorney.

With any luck, you've gained some important knowledge about reckless driving charges. Stay safe on the roads!

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