Reckless driving can result in serious penalties, even though it is considered a summary offense. If you are driving a commercial truck, for example, a reckless driving charge can result in the loss of your license and livelihood. Similarly, if your reckless driving causes an injury or property damage, you may face more serious penalties. The lesser charge of careless driving can also have penal consequences, but they may be slightly less onerous. If you are charged with reckless driving, you should ask experienced Levittown attorney John M. Kenney for assistance.Pennsylvania Reckless and Careless Driving Laws
Anybody who drives with “willful or wanton disregard” for other people’s safety or the safety of property is guilty of reckless driving in Pennsylvania. Reckless driving is a charge that requires the prosecutor to show you acted with intent or deliberate irresponsibility. If you are convicted of this charge, the judge can sentence you to a minimum of $200 in fines, loss of your license for six months, and up to 90 days in jail. If your reckless driving causes injury, there are more significant consequences, such as a minimum $1,000 fine and a minimum of 90 days in jail. Reckless driving that results in death can result in a $25,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail for the person found to be driving recklessly.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate with a prosecutor to try to get a reckless driving charge dismissed or perhaps reduced to a careless driving charge. It can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that you drove recklessly with wanton or willful disregard. Proving intent is harder than simply proving a lack of care, especially since the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not need to show that your innocence but simply point out potential flaws in the prosecutor’s argument.
Careless driving is a lesser charge than reckless driving because it assumes you did not deliberately drive in a way that endangers others. For example, if you drive while fatigued and doze off, you are likely to be charged with careless driving. If, on the other hand, you make aggressive gestures, shout obscenities, and cut off other drivers, it may be easier for a prosecutor to show that you had the intent necessary to be charged with reckless driving. Careless driving can lead to three points on your driving record. If you hurt someone in connection with your careless driving charge, you can be fined $250 and sent to jail for 90 days. Causing a death while driving carelessly increases the potential fine to $500.Discuss Your Charges With a Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney
Reckless driving is a summary charge that can have serious consequences, including injuries to other people or yourself and legal penalties to you. If you drive recklessly or carelessly, you will need the help of a Bucks County traffic violation defense lawyer to help you try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. John M. Kenney has significant experience in defending clients against both criminal defense matters and traffic violations. For a free consultation, you can reach him by phone at (215) 547-3031, or by filling out our online form. We serve clients in all parts of Pennsylvania, including Bristol, Morrisville, Fairless Hills, Yardley, and Langhorne.