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Reckless Driving

The state of Michigan takes public safety and peace incredibly seriously. That is why the state has such harsh laws prohibiting reckless driving in any form. Driving recklessly could result in a misdemeanor offense punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. If you cause injury or unintentionally kill another person due to your reckless driving, then you may be charged with a felony and face years in prison and huge court fines. In addition to the penalties described, you may be civilly liable for the victim’s injuries.

If you or someone you know has been charged with reckless driving, don’t waste time and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today. A skilled Michigan reckless driving attorney can assess the facts of the case, develop a defense plan, and will have the means/resources needed to execute said plan. Stay silent with law enforcement and find experienced legal representation today with Dallo Law, P.C..

Bloomfield Hills Reckless Driving Attorney | Oakland County, Michigan

No one ever has intentions of putting anyone in danger when they go out on the road. However, sometimes heightened nerves and bad judgements can cause an experienced and safe driver to act out of turn by driving recklessly. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t care if you drove recklessly due to frazzled nerves or other external factors. You could still be charged with reckless driving if cited or arrested for the crime by a law enforcement officer.

If you’ve been accused of reckless driving, call Dallo Law, P.C.. J. Dallo and his experienced legal staff have years of experience fighting traffic charges including speeding, careless driving, and reckless driving. He can assist you by creating a proper defense designed to poke holes in the prosecution’s argument. Call J. Dallo at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation.

Dallo Law, P.C. is located in Bloomfield Hills but accepts clients in Oakland County and Macomb County including Rochester, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Royal Oak, Clarkston, Oakland Charter Township, West Bloomfield Hills Township, Troy, Waterford Township, Warren, Clinton Township, and Mount Clemens.

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What is Considered Reckless Driving?

The act of Reckless Driving is defined under the Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.626. The statute specifies reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway, parking lot, public lake, stream, or frozen pond with wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others or surrounding property. What Michigan considers to be “willful or wanton disregard” will depend on the circumstances of the case.

According to the Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions, the term “willful and wanton disregard” is defined as:

“More than simple carless[ness] but not require[ing] proof of intent to cause harms. It means knowingly disregarding the possible risks to the safety of people or property.”

In other words, a person drives with willful and wanton disregard of others or property if they have knowledge of the risks their driving may have but choose to operate the vehicle in that manner despite that. Examples of reckless driving defined under Michigan law include:

  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Excessive speeding
  • Running stop signs and/or red lights
  • Tail gating
  • Drag racing with another vehicle
  • Passing a school bus unlawfully
  • Committing road rage

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What Speed is Reckless Driving in Michigan?

Technically, there is no “set speed” you can drive that will automatically constitute as a reckless driving offense. You can only be charged with reckless driving if there’s proof you drove a vehicle with willful and wanton disregard of the safety of others and surrounding property. So, the actual speed doesn’t matter. What actually matters is if your speeding is putting other people and possibly property at risk.

For instance, if you were driving 80 on a 70-mph highway, that wouldn’t be considered reckless driving even though you are speeding. However, if you were driving 40 mph on a 25-mph road, then that may be considered reckless driving. Especially if you’re weaving lanes or exhibiting other dangerous actions while you are speeding. That is because in that area driving 40 mph could have devastating effects since it could result in harm to people and/or property whilst driving 80 on a 70-mph highway would be considered low risk due to the already high-speed environment.

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Careless vs. Reckless Driving Michigan

You may have heard the terms careless driving or reckless driving be used interchangeably in conversation or on the news. However, both terms are defined as separate violations with different elements and penalties. Reckless driving is when a person operates a vehicle with willful and wanton disregard of the safety of others or surrounding property. The violation is criminal and could result in a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances.

Careless driving, on the other hand, is a civil infraction carrying a fine of $100. If the court considers your conduct while you drive to be not intentionally dangerous, then you may be charged with careless driving under the Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.626b. Some attorneys will attempt to reduce your charges from reckless driving to careless driving in an effort to avoid the statutory penalties.

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Is Reckless Driving a Criminal Offense?

The short answer is yes. Reckless driving is more than a traffic violation; it’s also a criminal offense. You may be arrested for the offense, but many people are charged with reckless driving via citation during a traffic stop. The officer may not book you and you may instead receive a summons in the mail with your court date and time. Despite this, reckless driving is still very much a criminal violation carrying serious penalties.

Reckless driving is a crime, but it’s important to note careless driving is only a civil infraction. Both violations will result in points added to your driving record. Careless driving violations will add three points to your driving record while reckless driving will result in 6 points added.

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What is the Punishment for Reckless Driving?

In most cases, reckless driving is a misdemeanor that can result in 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If someone is hurt or killed due to your reckless driving, then the courts will automatically enhance your penalties. Reckless driving that resulted in serious impairment of a body function to another is a felony offense punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • A fine between $1,000 and $5,000

If your actions while driving lead to another’s death, then the penalties will be increased to 15 years in prison with a maxed out fine at $10,000. In either scenario, your license will be automatically suspended, and your car will be impounded by the state. In addition to the penalties described above, you could be ordered to pay restitution to the victim and their family.

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Additional Resources

Reckless Driving Laws in Michigan – Visit the official website for the Michigan Legislature to read up on their Vehicle Code regarding reckless driving. Access the site to read more about the penalties regarding reckless driving, enhancements, and other applicable information.

SOS Michigan Point System – Visit the official website for the Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to learn more about Michigan’s traffic point system. Access the site to learn more about the points issued after traffic violations, how long they remain on your record, and other facts every driver must know.

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Oakland County Lawyer for Reckless Driving | Michigan

Have you been arrested for reckless driving? Contact J. Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C. as soon as possible. Attorney Dallo has the resources, skills, and dedication needed to fight a serious reckless driving charge. Don’t wait another moment to secure your rights and freedom and call Dallo Law, P.C. today for a free consultation.

Dallo Law, P.C. can be reached at (248) 283-7000 and accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland county and Macomb county Michigan area.

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