3 Facts You Need To Know To Fight Your Reckless Driving Charge
Traffic violations can range in severity from minor nuisances to major charges that can substantially impact your life and livelihood. While DUI charges are often the most severe, a reckless driving charge can still have serious consequences, even if alcohol isn’t involved. Jail time is rare, but heavy fines and a suspended license are much more likely.
A reckless driving charge can be frightening if you depend on your car to get to work, bring your kids to school, or fulfill other obligations. A reckless driving conviction can also have long-term impacts, including demerit points on your license and increased insurance premiums. If you want to avoid these severe consequences, you'll need to know these three crucial facts to fight your reckless driving charge.
1. Reckless Driving Isn't One-Size-Fits-All
Speeding is a fairly cut-and-dried traffic violation. While many speeding cases can become complex, the basic question is whether you exceeded the posted speed limit. On the other hand, reckless driving cases often involve more ambiguity. Reckless driving violations can involve everything from improper passing to excessive speeding.
In other words, one reckless driving case may have very little in common with another. The circumstances surrounding your reckless driving case are crucial to developing an appropriate defense. Since the judge will have latitude in assigning a penalty, more severe instances of reckless driving may also create the possibility of more severe penalties or even jail time.
Common factors that can increase the likelihood of higher fines, license suspension, or jail time include traveling well over the speed limit, speeding in a school zone, driving dangerously near school buses, and any behavior that seriously endangers pedestrians or other motorists. If your case includes these elements, you should consult with an experienced attorney immediately.
2. Reckless Driving Charges Have No Silver Bullets
A common misconception is that there are easy ways out of reckless driving charges or silver bullets that can reduce or eliminate the potential penalties. Common misguided defenses include:
Not knowing the posted speed limit
Traveling with the flow of traffic
Not knowing your speed or having a broken speedometer
Unfortunately, these arguments will not hold up in court and are unlikely to convince the prosecutor to reduce your charge. In general, claiming ignorance falls under a mistake of law, which is not an adequate defense in a criminal case. Since reckless driving charges typically involve very high speeds, you cannot reasonably claim that you did not know you were engaging in illegal behavior.
When you hire a lawyer to handle your case, they will do more than present a single argument to the judge. Instead, your lawyer will investigate the facts of your case, collect evidence, and build a defense specific to your situation. In some cases, the best option may be to work towards reduced charges or more lenient sentencing rather than disputing the facts of the case.
3. Reckless Driving Defense Strategies Can Be Highly Technical
You've probably heard that you can easily get out of a speeding ticket by contesting the charge and hoping the officer doesn't appear in court. While this strategy may occasionally work for minor traffic violations, the likelihood of a police officer skipping a court appearance for a reckless driving charge is slim.
Instead of attempting to rely on tricks for your defense, a professional attorney will often use highly technical arguments to help introduce doubt into your case. These arguments can include challenging the calibration of speeding equipment (radar or lidar guns) or questioning incidental evidence, such as tire tread marks or damage to vehicles involved in a collision.
Making these arguments in court is usually highly complex. It requires your attorney to understand the full details of the equipment used by police and the proper procedures for using that equipment. Often, cases may hinge on a tiny procedural mistake invalidating the evidence the prosecution will use to prove your speed.
Tri-Cities Law Group has experience working with reckless driving cases of all types. Schedule your consultation today so we can get to work helping you defend your driving privileges.