When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle you must follow the rules of the road. If you fail to adhere to the rules you might be pulled over and the officer may give you a traffic ticket. Most times, traffic infractions have penalties that include points against your license and fines. However, sometimes a moving violation is considered much more serious and therefore, it also has criminal penalties as well. If you are charged with reckless driving, you may need to seek legal help from a skilled criminal defense attorney in North Carolina.
What is Reckless Driving?
Many moving violations are serious and could result in harm to others. These are covered by the rules of the road by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV). Some of these moving violations include aggressive driving, operating without a license, excessive speeding, going through a red light, following too closely, and driving without insurance, among others. Reckless driving occurs when a person drives a vehicle on any public roadway in a careless and heedless manner with wanton or willful disregard for the rights or safety of others.
Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I represent myself on a traffic ticket?”
Is Reckless Driving a Crime?
Reckless driving is a moving violation and if convicted you would receive 4 points on your driver’s license. In addition to a moving violation under the DMV code, it is also a misdemeanor crime. The police officer has the discretion to determine the level of danger that driving behaviors comprise. A person driving at a high rate of speed over the posted limit or at a rate of speed higher than 80 mph could receive a reckless driving charge. The police officer may charge reckless driving when the driver is driving in a dangerous manner. Reckless driving can also apply to commercial vehicles that are carrying an overweight or oversized load.
Penalties for a Reckless Driving Conviction
Reckless driving as a misdemeanor charge is a serious offense. If convicted, you could face penalties that include fines, community service, suspension of driver’s license, and even jail time. Depending on the severity and whether you have previous serious driving convictions, the punishments will be escalated, with fines up to $1,000. Sometimes you may face several charges at once, with reckless driving being among them.
Defending Reckless Driving Charges
If you are charged with reckless driving you will certainly want to provide a vigorous defense. There are several possible defenses to reckless driving charges. First, it is important to make sure that the police officer has jurisdiction in the location where you received the ticket. In some cases, you may be able to prove that you were not the driver or that the officer pursued the incorrect vehicle. In rare instances, you may be able to prove that you were speeding because you were in the midst of a legitimate emergency.
In some cases, your actions may not have risen to the reckless driving charges. For example, you may be able to argue that you were driving in a negligent manner but your actions did not rise to the level of being deemed reckless. There are also instances where the traffic stop was performed illegally, such as when the officer did not have probable cause to stop you or failed to read you your rights. In these instances, your attorney will file a motion to exclude any evidence that was obtained illegally, which could reduce or eliminate your charges.
It is important to take reckless driving charges seriously. If you are facing reckless driving charges, seek guidance from our experienced legal team. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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