Many people do not take traffic offenses seriously. While getting a speeding ticket is certainly not the end of the world, some offenses are more significant and so too are the penalties. Being charged with reckless driving is considered a more serious offense.
In Pennsylvania, reckless driving is a summary traffic offense. Though this is the most minor criminal offense possible, it is still a criminal offense. If convicted, you have a criminal conviction on your record.
Reckless driving involves intent
The difference between a reckless driving charge and a careless driving charge is intent. In other words, when the police officer charged you with reckless driving, he or she believed you were driving in deliberately dangerous or irresponsible manner. Reckless driving behaviors include:
- Excessive speeding
- Running stop lights or stop signs
- Illegal passing
- Tailgating another vehicle
- Failing to yield to other vehicles or pedestrians
Penalties for reckless driving
If convicted of reckless driving, you must pay at least a $200 fine, and your license is suspended for six months. The fines double if you were pulled over in an emergency or work zone. If your reckless driving caused injury to another person or property, your potential punishments increase. A conviction means a minimum of 90 days in jail and a fine of at least $1,000.
You can fight a reckless driving charge. If your driving record is clear, you may be able to get your sentence reduced, avoid jail altogether or get the charges dropped. This depends on the facts of your case, and your ability to defend yourself against these charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can argue on your behalf and help you get the best possible outcome.