Reckless driving is a moving violation that is often treated as a misdemeanor. People who are convicted of this crime can face a fine, deportation, revocation of parole, and the suspension or cancellation of driver's license. In some areas, the penalties vary, depending on the specifics of the offense, and the law may have several categories established.
In order to be considered reckless driving, activity on the road must include a demonstrated disregard for the safety of property, animals, and people. Someone who is driving recklessly may have a willful disregard of safety, or may simply have a wanton attitude about the rules of the road. In either case, in order for people to be successfully convicted, demonstration of the disregard must be provided in the form of testimony from witnesses about the person's driving. Police officers, for example, can testify about seeing someone engage in a series of reckless acts.
Some examples of recklessness can include ignoring basic safety laws, such as laws forbidding people to pass in front of oncoming traffic, laws prohibiting crossing train tracks in front of an oncoming train, and laws regulating speed. People who exceed the speed limit by an unusually high amount may be considered reckless drivers because they are putting other drivers in danger. Likewise, activities like swerving, repeatedly driving through red lights, and so forth can also be grounds for charges, as can driving with the intent to elude a police officer.
The concern with reckless driving is that it poses a risk not only to the driver, but also to people in the surrounding area. Other drivers could be harmed if a car spun out of control, for example, and drivers could also injure or kill pets, children, and pedestrians by driving recklessly. In addition, drivers may cause property damage by driving into buildings. As a result, such behavior is not only inherently dangerous, but a public safety issue.
There are defenses that people may use for reckless driving charges, such as demonstrating that an emergency situation warranted excessive speed. People who are planning to contest such charges instead of pleading guilty may want to consider discussing the situation with a lawyer to see if there are possible defenses or approaches to the case which could improve the possible outcome. Lawyers who specialize in handling traffic cases and violations such as driving under the influence (DUI) often have expertise that can be helpful.