What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is the act of driving a vehicle with a willful disregard for safety; completely ignoring the operational part of driving, which could create consequences for third parties and the driver itself. If an individual is cited for this traffic offense it means they’ve shown disregard for the road rules and may or may not cause an accident that results in property damage. Even so, in most cases, in order to be accused of reckless driving, the driver would have to be responsible for doing something more than just driving with negligence.
When is Considered Reckless Driving?
The driver was pursued more than 5 miles at the rate of 75 to 80 miles per hour across some intersection and also passed ten cars. Later, he passed thirteen cars at a high rate of speed, between 80 and 85 miles per hour. The surrounding circumstances and the speeding were enough for a court to determine the case as reckless driving.
When is It Not Considered Reckless Driving?
A pedestrian drew the attention of a driver with a flying pole but the driver did not slow down, then the pedestrian shouted something to the driver. Then the driver made a U-turn and drove to where the pedestrian was, who thought he would get hit and jumped out of the way. Once the driver saw this, he decided to go to where the pedestrian was and put his car in reverse, leaving skid marks before driving off.
This case was found by the court as simple negligence on the driver, but it wasn’t a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Is Reckless Driving Considered a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California?
According to Vehicle Code 23103, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for five to 90 days. It could be by county jail or by a fine of $145 to $1,000. However, reckless driving can be punishable by both fine and imprisonment. The punishments are increased only if reckless driving causes great bodily injury and significant or substantial physical injury.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Misdemeanors are punishable by substantial fines or jail time, but most misdemeanors are adjudicated in a shortened trial; and if the defendant is going to serve any jail term, then it would most likely be served in a local or county jail. On the other hand, a felony is the more serious type of crime and is often classified by degrees – being the first one the most serious. A felony is punishable by substantial fines and prison sentences that exceed the year. If a defendant is convicted of a felony, then jail time will be served in a state or federal correctional institution.
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