Is Reckless Driving a Felony or Misdemeanor in California?

Posted on February 16, 2021 by John

In California, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor. As stated in the California Vehicle Code Section 23103, this is defined as “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

People convicted for this offense can spend up to 90 days in county jail and pay fines up to $1,000. These penalties also worsen if the person has prior convictions for reckless driving or someone was injured or killed due to the reckless driving.

What is Reckless Driving in the State of California?

If you are convicted of reckless driving, two points will be added to your driving record, and you risk your license being suspended. Points on your driving record typically increase your monthly auto insurance expenses.

Reckless driving charges can result from a variety of driving issues, such as excessive speeding or weaving through traffic lanes. It is important to note that reckless driving charges can often be paired with other serious criminal charges involving the same accident. For example, reckless driving and driving under the influence, hit and runs, or street racing are often seen together.

Wet Reckless Driving Charge

According to Vehicle Code Section 23103.5, a DUI can sometimes be reduced to a “wet reckless” driving charge, also known as a reckless driving charge involving alcohol. In cases like these, a plea bargain is typically reached with the prosecutor, and your attorney may try to defend the DUI. In some cases, they may convince the prosecutor that the evidence is unsubstantial and, therefore, results in a reduced charge—wet reckless charge. However, it is important to note that you cannot be charged with a wet reckless from the beginning. A reduced DUI charge can only achieve this.

Dry Reckless Driving Charge

Some attorneys can even go even further and convince the prosecution to reduce the original DUI to a “dry reckless” charge. In simple terms, a dry reckless is reckless driving without alcohol being involved. According to Vehicle Code Section 23103, dry reckless charges are considered misdemeanors and may result in fines, probation, and even jail time.

On your record, this conviction will appear as if you were arrested for reckless driving initially. In other words, it will not count as a prior DUI conviction if you are arrested for a DUI in the future (unlike a wet reckless conviction).

If you have been charged with reckless driving, call the Law Office of David Leicht at (760)256-3104 for a free consultation today.The Law Office of David Leicht serves the California communities of Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, and Wrightwood.

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