Reckless driving is a serious offense in Pennsylvania and carries penalties such as license suspension, hefty fines, and possible incarceration time. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What is reckless driving in Pennsylvania?
Section 3736 of Pennsylvania vehicle code defines a reckless driver as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property…” As such, a number of actions may constitute reckless driving, and a number of other traffic offenses may be incurred simultaneously. These infractions include speeding, driving without a license, driving while impaired, performing an illegal maneuver and more.
What’s the difference between careless and reckless driving?
Careless driving is defined by section 3714 of Pennsylvania’s code as driving with “careless disregard” for the safety of persons or property. To help clarify the differences, an example of careless driving may be a person falling asleep behind the wheel, which is a summary offense. An example of reckless driving, on the other hand, involves a person deliberately driving without care, such as excessively speeding.
Pennsylvania code states that reckless driving is considered a summary offense under the law and is penalized with a fine of $200 upon conviction. Additionally, if convicted, you face a license suspension of six months. The $200 fine doubles if the incident occurs in a work or emergency zone. In some cases, the convicted may face jail time.
If the reckless driving results in harm to a person or property, penalties increase. If the act causes an injury, the fine is $1,000 minimum and a minimum incarceration period of 90 days. If reckless driving results in a person’s death, then the minimum jail sentence increases to 12 months, and the minimum fine increases to $25,000. A driver who kills a person while driving recklessly may face criminal charges of vehicular manslaughter, as well as civil charges.
What’s more, under Pennsylvania’s laws, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation – according to a fact sheet on its website – adds points to an individual’s driving record when a traffic violation occurs. The more points a person accumulates, the closer the person comes to facing legal consequences. If convicted of reckless driving, points will be added to your record. Removing points takes time. After 12 months of no traffic violations, three points will be removed.
What should I do if I’m charged with reckless driving?
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Pennsylvania, it is important that you seek legal counsel. If you have no previous traffic violations on your record, you may have your sentence reduced and avoid the possible incarceration period. An attorney can help you negotiate a more favorable plea agreement and may help reduce any license restrictions imposed. If reckless driving resulted in harm to a person or property, it is even more essential that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible – having an attorney on your side who will advocate for you increases the likelihood of a more favorable case outcome.
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Don’t try to fight a reckless driving charge on your own – let the criminal defense attorneys at ARM Lawyers represent you today. Schedule your case consultation now.