Under Pennsylvania law, reckless driving is a serious charge. While some view it as “just a traffic ticket,” it is a major traffic crime. A reckless driving conviction in Montgomery County can lead to fines, a driver’s license suspension, possible jail time, and even a long-term license revocation for repeat offenders.
If you face reckless driving charges in Pennsylvania, you need every advantage you can get to beat the charges and avoid major consequences. Reckless driving lawyer David C. McKenzie III has helped many drivers prove their innocence or reach a deal for lesser charges. Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today at 610-680-7842 to talk to a reckless driving lawyer in Montgomery County about your case.
What Is Reckless Driving?
Pennsylvania law defines reckless driving as driving in “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This is a summary offense, which is the least serious criminal offense, but it is still a serious charge. The types of acts you might get a reckless driving ticket for include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions to the point you cannot control the car;
- Driving the wrong way on the interstate or on another one-way street;
- Swerving in and out of traffic;
- Deliberately tailgating another car; or
- Other behaviors that endanger other motorists or pedestrians.
To convict you of reckless driving, the prosecutors must provide evidence to prove:
- Your driving was unreasonable, creating a high risk of an accident; and
- You were aware of the danger you created for others, but chose to disregard or ignore this risk.
The second part of this is often key in these cases. When it comes to the Pennsylvania reckless driving law, the driver’s intent is central to a conviction.
This means proving the driver’s state of mind at the time of the crash is necessary to show they knew they were putting others in danger but ignored the risk. While there is often little evidence to support this charge if the driver refuses to admit it, one way prosecutors win these cases is to have police testify about the driver’s actions before and during the crash.
For example, if the motorist was texting behind the wheel, it will be easier to prove a reckless driving charge. From this action, the jury may infer the driver was aware they were endangering others but continued anyway. It comes as a surprise to no one that texting while driving is dangerous and could cause a crash.
What Penalties Are Possible With a Reckless Driving Conviction?
Under state law, several consequences are possible after a reckless driving conviction, including:
- A six-month driver’s license suspension;
- A fine of $200 or more, doubled in work zones and emergency response areas; and
- Time in jail, which is unlikely unless injuries occur.
It is in your best interest to avoid these penalties if possible. If your reckless driving led to an accident—and someone suffered serious injuries—the penalties you face could be serious. We will build a strong defense on your behalf to help you avoid these and other consequences of a reckless driving conviction.
How Will a Lawyer Defend Me Against a Reckless Driving Charge in Montgomery County?
Reckless driving covers a broad range of behaviors. Almost any purposeful violation of traffic law could fall into this category if it puts others in danger. We can often beat this charge by arguing that our clients did not have the intent to break the law.
If we can show you were not reckless and instead simply made a mistake, we can get your charges reduced to a minor traffic violation or dismissed entirely. We may also be able to make a deal with prosecutors to allow you to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for no jail time, a reduced fine, or other reduced penalties.
Some people successfully fight this type of charge on their own, but having our criminal defense team on your side can make the process easier and greatly reduce your stress. There is a lot at stake when you face a reckless driving charge. You could lose your driver’s license for six months, have to pay a fine, face a significant increase in your auto insurance premiums, and have a criminal record that you have to explain every time you apply for a job or try to get a new apartment. We will defend you against these charges and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
How Is Reckless Driving Different From Careless Driving?
Under Pennsylvania law, reckless driving and careless driving are separate but somewhat related charges. A state statute defines careless driving as driving “in careless disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Like reckless driving, a careless driving conviction is a summary offense. The penalties following a conviction are similar to reckless driving. However, intent does not play into careless driving. If prosecutors cannot identify the evidence necessary to charge you with reckless driving, you may face careless driving charges instead.
If convicted of careless driving, you might face fines and time in jail. However, jail time is rare unless your careless driving caused an accident and someone suffered injuries. The penalties increase drastically if careless driving leads to an accident that caused death or serious injuries to another person. For example, the fine for careless driving and causing a serious injury accident is $250. If your careless driving caused the death of another person, you will face fines up to $500.
How Can I Discuss My Case With a Reckless Driving Lawyer in Montgomery County, PA?
Attorney David C. McKenzie III will fight for the best outcome possible in your reckless driving case. We know how prosecutors attempt to prove these cases. Our legal team will work to build a strong defense on your behalf. Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today at 610-680-7842 to schedule a free review of your case with a member of our team.