Under Texas law, it is illegal to drive in a reckless manner. The statute defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with wanton or willful disregard for other people’s safety. Although you might think a reckless driving charge is no big deal, our Houston criminal defense lawyer explains why you should take the charges seriously.
What is Reckless Driving?
All sorts of driving can qualify as reckless if done in a willful or wanton disregard for other people. Some common examples include:
- Driving much faster than the speed limit
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Passing illegally
- Driving on the sidewalk
- Running a red light when people are in the intersection
Other examples of reckless driving, like drag racing or eluding a police officer, have their own separate laws and penalties. But any maneuvers behind the wheel, if sufficiently dangerous, could result in a reckless driving charge.
What are the Penalties?
The penalties include a maximum $200 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Most people will not see time in jail if this is a first offense. However, your chances probably go up if you have other arrests for DWI or similar traffic offenses.
There are also non-criminal penalties you need to think about. For one, you might lose your license. If you have 4 or more moving violations in a 12-month period, your license will be suspended, just as it will if you get at least 7 moving violations in a 24-month period. You should assess your driving history to see if you are on the verge of a suspension.
Your insurance premiums will probably also shoot up. It’s not unusual for someone to pay hundreds more each year for insurance after a reckless driving conviction, which could make owning a vehicle unaffordable. And don’t think of driving while uninsured—that could also lead to criminal penalties.
For all these reasons, you should take a reckless driving charge seriously. Spend some time analyzing whether you want to mount a defense. Instead of immediately pleading guilty, we recommend scheduling a consultation with a Houston criminal defense lawyer.
Can You Fight a Reckless Driving Charge?
Yes. We have had success at Tad Nelson & Associates challenging reckless driving charges using a variety of defenses. For example, we might challenge the police officer’s testimony that you were driving dangerously. Unless the officer has dashcam footage, it’s essentially your word against his.
Furthermore, you might have witnesses in your car who can testify that it was a different car that was driving dangerously. So many cars look alike that it is not unusual for the police to stop the wrong car on the road. If we can create reasonable doubt, we can get charges dismissed or secure an acquittal in court.
Call Tad Nelson to Schedule a Meeting!
Reckless driving charges are serious. Learn how to fight back. Our attorneys will discuss your chances of success in a consultation if you contact us. There is no risk, and our consultations are confidential.