What Should You Know About Reckless Driving Charges Defense in California?

Posted on October 12, 2023 by John

Traffic violations can vary in seriousness, from the minor inconvenience of a parking ticket to felony charges that can change lives. Reckless driving is a serious charge in California. The penalties can range from a fine to jail time and even loss of your driver’s license. If you’re charged with reckless driving in California, it’s important to understand the charge and what you can do to defend yourself.

Reckless Driving in California: What is the Law?

California Vehicle Code Section 23103 defines reckless driving as driving in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Wanton disregard means that the driver willfully or intentionally disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that could result in injury or death to himself or others, whether the driver operates a vehicle on a highway or in an off-street parking facility.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor that can land you in jail.

Penalties For Reckless Driving in California

On a first offense, a driver will face up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A conviction for this offense can add two points to your driving record, which may cause insurance companies to raise premiums. Penalties increase for subsequent convictions or if someone is injured due to recklessness.

Common Reckless Driving Defenses in California

Here are some common reckless driving defenses a skilled attorney may utilize:

  • You were not driving. An attorney may argue that you were not operating the vehicle at the moment of the reckless incident. You may have been in the car during the incident but were not driving.
  • The actions were negligent but not reckless. There is a difference between being careless and acting with intent. Since recklessness implies a willful disregard for law and safety, your attorney may argue that there is insufficient evidence to show that you were reckless.
  • Necessity. This defense may apply if you were faced with a situation that required you to drive unsafely, but you had reason to believe it was necessary to avoid harm to yourself or others. For example, a driver may swerve into another lane to avoid a collision with a child who has run into the street. If no other option was available and the act was done to prevent harm, then this defense may apply.
  • Duress. This defense may also fall under the category of necessity, namely if a driver was forced to drive unsafely by another person who threatened them with harm.

A Skilled Bartow Area Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact the Law Office of David Leicht if you face a reckless driving charge. We are here to provide effective and compassionate representation in your defense. Call us at (760)-256-3104 or use our online form to set up a free consultation and put the power of an experienced attorney on your side.

Serving Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, Wrightwood, and the surrounding California communities.

Law Office of David Leicht

534 Barstow Road

Barstow, CA 92311


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