If you have been charged with reckless driving in Florida, a conviction for this offense can lead a criminal record in addition to jail time and/or fines. Unlike most criminal offenses, reckless driving focuses on a person’s intent, or state of mind, instead of their actual behavior. Therefore, this type of offense is actually much more difficult for the prosecution to prove, even though it is easy to charge someone with committing this offense.
In addition to criminal penalties associated with reckless driving, a conviction for this offense can lead to other consequences on daily life. For example, these types of charges are most often brought against young male drivers between the ages of 17 and 24. Although these drivers already pay high insurance premiums, a conviction for reckless driving will dramatically increase automobile insurance rates for the next 36 months.
Orlando Reckless Driving Defense Attorney
In order to potentially avoid serious consequences to a reckless driving charge in Orange County, Florida, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the law office of Hale & Hale. The attorneys at Hale & Hale are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s traffic laws, and will make every effort to achieve the best possible outcome for your particular reckless driving offense. Call Hale & Hale today at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your allegations of reckless driving.
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Reckless Driving under Florida Law
According to Florida Statutes § 316.192, reckless driving is defined as driving a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. The term willful often means intentionally, knowingly or purposefully. Additionally, the term wanton is frequently defined as a complete indifference to the consequences of one’s actions.
This statute completely focuses on the state of the mind of the driver when they were driving the motor vehicle. It is often difficult for the prosecution to convict a person of reckless driving because the required intent for reckless driving is subjective, and it is difficult to prove what the driver’s state of mind was when they were driving the motor vehicle.
If the alleged offender is fleeing from a police officer, they will automatically be charged with reckless driving. This is Florida’s reckless driving per se rule, and the intent of the driver is not relevant in this particular instance.
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Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving in Florida
Careless driving in Florida, as defined in Florida Statutes § 316.1926, is failing to drive a motor vehicle in a careful and prudent manner. This offense is less serious than the charge of reckless driving, and does not require an analysis of the driver’s state of mind.
If the prosecution is unable to establish the state of mind of a driver for reckless driving, they will be able to charge the alleged offender with careless driving. This offense is punishable as a moving violation, and can lead to fines and/or community service.
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Reckless Driving with Property Damage
Most of the time, reckless driving charges are brought against the diver after an automobile crash. If property damages occurs as a result of the crash, and the driver was charged with reckless driving, a conviction for this offense can result in first degree misdemeanor.
If the court determines drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident, the court is required to order the driver to attend DUI (Driving Under the Influence) school. If the court further determines alcohol was a significant factor in the automobile crash, then court can order the alleged offender to probation for up to one year, as opposed to the standard maximum for this offense of six months.
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Felony Reckless Driving Under Florida Law
If a driver charged with reckless driving causes serious bodily injury to another person, then the offense is punishable as a felony of the third degree.
The term “serious bodily injury” in Florida means personal injury to another person that creates a substantial risk of that person to suffer serious disfigurement, impairment, or loss of the function of any limb or organ.
In addition to the felony criminal charge against a person for reckless driving, the person who suffered severe body injury will also likely file a civil lawsuit for money damages to compensate for the injuries they suffered.
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Penalties for a Reckless Driving in Orlando
A first offense for a conviction of reckless driving is punishable as a moving violation, and can result in a fine between $25 and $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail or not more than 6 months probation.
A second offense for reckless driving is a moving violation, and potential punishments for this offense include a fine between $50 and $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail or on probation.
If property damage resulted from the reckless driving, then the alleged offender can be convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree, and may be required to pay a fine ranging from $25 to $1,000 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment in county jail or probation. If a second reckless driving results in property damage, then a conviction for the misdemeanor offense requires payment of a fine between $50 and $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail or probation.
If the offender is convicted of reckless driving that caused serious body injury to another person, this offense is punishable by up to five years in Florida prison and/or a fine not exceeding $5,000.
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Hale & Hale, P.A. | Orlando Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys
Contact the attorneys at Hale & Hale, P.A. to discuss the particular facts of your reckless driving offense in Orange County, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Seminole County, Osceola County, Winter Park and Kissimmee. The attorneys at Hale & Hale will make every effort to help you avoid the most severe punishments and penalties for your charge of reckless driving. Contact Hale & Hale, P.A. at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your criminal traffic violation in Orlando, Florida.