A reckless driving conviction can result in jail time, fines, and points on your license. San Francisco traffic violation lawyer David Uthman has three decades of experience in law enforcement and criminal and traffic defense. David Uthman’s brings personal knowledge of law enforcement procedures and reports in defending his clients in criminal and traffic cases. He was an innovator in bringing traffic Law defense to the public at a low fee. He is able to obtain dismissal or a reduction in traffic violations, in many cases, in San Francisco and the Bay Area.What Constitutes Reckless Driving in California
A driver who drives with a wanton disregard for the safety of people or property is guilty of reckless driving. A wanton disregard for safety occurs when the driver knows that an action carries a risk of harm that is substantial and unjustifiable, but intentionally ignores the risk and takes the action. Having the intent to cause harm is not necessary for a person to be found guilty of wanton disregard for safety. Merely driving at an excessive speed is not sufficient to charge an individual with reckless driving, but is a factor to be considered.
A reckless driving conviction will automatically result in two points being added to your license. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime. If you are found guilty of reckless driving, you can be sentenced to five to 90 days in prison and assessed fines of $145 to $1,000. If your reckless driving injures another person, or if you have a previous reckless driving conviction, you may face increased penalties of jail time of 30 days to six months and fines of $220 to $1,000.Defenses to Reckless Driving Charges
If you are charged with reckless driving, the prosecution has the burden of proving the reckless driving charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove that you were driving. For example, if the police arrived after an accident and did not witness you driving, there may be insufficient evidence for a conviction.
The prosecution must prove that you were driving in a manner that shows a wanton disregard for safety. They must show that you intentionally disregarded the safety of others with the knowledge that a serious injury was the probable outcome. If the prosecution can only show that you acted negligently, they will not be able to convict you of reckless driving.
If you prove that you drove recklessly out of necessity then the charges would be dismissed. The defense of necessity requires proving that:
- you drove recklessly to avoid danger or harm;
- you did not contribute to the danger that you were trying to avoid or create a greater danger;
- you had no alternative means of avoiding the danger other than driving in a reckless manner.
In some cases it may be appropriate to plead guilty to reckless driving as a lesser charge. If you are charged with a DUI, you may be able to obtain a plea bargain to a charge of reckless driving, also known as a wet reckless charge. By pleading guilty to a wet reckless, the DUI charge is dismissed and you avoid having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Fines and penalties are less for a reckless driving charge than for a DUI. And your license will not automatically be suspended as it would be with a DUI conviction.
A wet reckless conviction differs from the standard reckless driving conviction, because it includes a notation that the reckless driving offense involved alcohol or drugs. Also, it counts as a prior offense on your record. If you are convicted of a DUI within 10 years of your wet reckless conviction, it will be considered your second DUI conviction, and you will face increased penalties. If you are charged with a DUI, a knowledgeable traffic attorney can explain to you the benefits and detriments of a wet reckless plea bargain so you can make an informed decision.Set Up a Free Consultation with a Traffic Ticket Lawyer in San Francisco
Attorney David Uthman is consistently successful in obtaining favorable results for clients charged with reckless driving. The Uthman Law Office regularly represents drivers throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, and Marin Counties. Call us today at 415-556-9200, use our online form, or visit our office for a free consultation.