Reckless Driving in Pasco County
Law enforcement officers in Pasco County, FL, sometimes overcharge a driver with a crime for “reckless driving” when a civil infraction for “careless driving” or “speeding” would have been more appropriate.
Make no mistake about it, reckless driving is a criminal offense that comes with criminal penalties. The goal in these cases is to get the criminal charge dismissed on the merits so that you can avoid the typical penalties including:
- jail time or probation;
- a fine and court costs:
- a criminal record if you are convicted;
- four (4) points being added to your driving record;
- a suspended driver’s license; and
- a dramatic increase in your insurance premiums for the next several years.
If you were arrested or received a notice to appear in court on charges of “reckless driving” in Pasco County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Pasco County, FL
The attorneys at Sammis Law firm fight reckless driving cases involving officers with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office or the local police departments in New Port Richey, Port Richey, Dade City, or Land ‘O Lakes.
Our second office is conveniently located in New Port Richey, across from the West Pasco Judicial Center. We fight these cases at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City.
Contact us to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the particular facts of your case.
Elements of Florida’s Reckless Driving Statute – Section 316.192
Under Section 316.192, a conviction for reckless driving requires proof that you drove your vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of another person or property.
For purposes of Florida’s reckless driving statute, the term “wanton” is defined to mean a conscious and intentional indifference to the consequences and with the knowledge that damage is likely to occur.
The crime of reckless driving does not necessarily require proof that you caused a wreck or a crash. But when a crash didn’t occur or the evidence is not overwhelming, then prosecutors often have a difficult time proving the driver’s “state of mind.”
As a matter of law, proving a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others requires much more than driving too fast or improper passing.
How a Reckless Driving Conviction Impacts Driving Privileges
Any conviction for reckless driving triggers the DHSMV to assign four (4) points on your Florida driving record. If the court agrees to “withhold adjudication” then the points can be avoided.
A “withhold of adjudication” means you might be eligible to seal your record. If the charges are dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court, then you might be eligible to seal your record.
Avoiding the Penalties for Reckless Driving
The penalties for reckless driving depend on a variety of factors including whether a crash occurred and the number of prior convictions. For a first offense of reckless driving with no crash causing property damage or non-serious personal injury, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $500.
For a second or subsequent conviction for reckless driving with no crash causing property damage or non-serious personal injury, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to six (6) months and a fine of $1,000.00.
If the reckless driving incident caused a crash with property damage or non-serious personal injury, then the crime is charged as a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If the court has reasonable cause to believe that alcohol or a controlled substance contributed to the reckless driving, the court order the defendant to complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation.
Why the Reckless Driving Convictions Triggers Driving School
If you are convicted of “reckless driving,” then the conviction will trigger the DSHMV sending you a notice that you much complete driving school, even if it was not ordered by the court.
If you fail to complete the course within 90 days after receiving notice from the DHSMV, then Section 322.0261(4) of the Florida Statutes requires the DHSMV to cancel your driver’s license until the class is completed and you pay a fee to reinstate your license.
Read more about why DUI might be reduced to reckless driving in Pasco County, FL.
Felony Reckless Driving Charges in Pasco County, FL
If the reckless driving case also involves an allegation that you caused serious bodily injury to another person, then the crime can be charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000.00 fine.
For purposes of Florida’s felony reckless driving statute, the term “serious bodily injury” is defined to include any injury that causes some permanent harm such as brain damage, damage to a mental faculty, damage to an organ, noticeable scarring, loss of range of motion, physical disfigurement, extreme pain, damage to an organ, broken bone, or loss of consciousness.
This article was last updated by Leslie M. Sammis on Friday, April 10, 2020.