Reckless driving under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390 is a relatively serious traffic offense that can have serious penalties, particularly for drivers under 21 years old. The charge is a 4-point offense under Georgia’s point system. While a reckless driving plea may be a great outcome on a DUI case, it’s a horrible outcome if you were only speeding.
The law defines reckless driving very loosely. The statute says that it occurs when a person “drives any vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” What is reckless disregard? Well, that’s the tricky part. It’s not a bright line rule like speeding or DUI per se. Instead it’s determined on a case-by-case basis. Cops and prosecutors differ in how they see the rule. That’s why some people are arrested and prosecuted for reckless driving while others merely get a speeding ticket. Regardless of the facts, if you receive a ticket for reckless driving you need to deal with it correctly.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
Judges and prosecutors differ in how they sentence on reckless driving charges. These are not basic traffic tickets. In most cases, you can’t simply go online and pay the fine. Although these charges are misdemeanors and can therefore carry sentences of up to a $1,000.00 fine and a year in jail, most sentences are lower. Usually, the sentence does not carry jail time or is limited to the time spent before bonding out. When a sentence calls for jail time, the time is usually only a few days. Probation is more likely than jail, and even that does not occur in every case. Driving school, risk reduction classes, and drug & alcohol evaluations are other alternatives. Sometimes community service is part of the sentence as well. As far as driving penalties, reckless driving convictions put 4 points on your driving history and do get reported on your motor vehicle report.
Reckless Driving for Drivers Under 21
Drivers under 21 (and 18) have special rules under Georgia law. While most tickets are handled more harshly for younger drivers, reckless driving is a special circumstance. As a 4-point violation, it will automatically suspend the license of any driver under the age of 21. Even worse, a “nolo” plea or “zero-point order” will not save the license. The first offense is a six-month suspension with no work permit. Therefore, you need a lawyer to walk you through the nuances of any under-21 traffic ticket.
How Does Reckless Driving Affect My CDL?
You need a traffic lawyer on speed dial. Seriously. Commercial drivers are subject to special rules which can literally prevent them from doing their jobs. Any traffic offense can be devastating to your livelihood. Reckless driving is a particularly dangerous offense because it is a “serious traffic violation” against a CDL. Serious traffic violations can cause a disqualification of your commercial driving privileges. Besides that risk, the conviction will appear on your motor vehicle report. Insurers and present and future employers will be able to see the offense, which can cause serious issues for your employment.
What Can a Traffic Lawyer Do About My Ticket?
In many cases, a skilled traffic lawyer can negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of your charge to avoid the serious consequences it carries. When that is unsuccessful, the attorney can advise you on the possibility of beating the charge at trial due to its loose definition. The lawyers at Lankford & Moore Law can usually obtain the best outcome for you and avoid the stress and cost of trial. Our ongoing study of the law and understanding of what prosecutors need to see enable our lawyers to negotiate traffic tickets such that they avoid many if not all of the lifelong consequences you could face if you just paid the ticket. Even better, Lankford & Moore Law’s attorneys offer a free consultation for any tickets received in Gwinnett, Hall, and Barrow Counties and their cities’ municipal courts. Call today to see how we can help with your ticket.