Reckless driving is a crime, not just a traffic ticket. It is punishable by jail time. In Florida, the charge of reckless driving is proven when the State demonstrates that the accused person had driven any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Speeding alone cannot constitute reckless driving, although speeding in conjunction with other acts (running red lights, swerving in and out of lanes, etc...) may constitute reckless driving.
For your first offense, the maximum penalty is a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.
For your second offense, the maximum penalty is a $1000 fine and 6 months in jail.
If there is property damage (whether first offense or not) the maximum is a $1000 fine and 1 year in jail.
Reckless driving is taken seriously by the County Court prosecutors in Miami-Dade and Broward. However, the charges are defensible in the fact that (a) they usually consist of the testimony of one police officer; and (b) reckless driving arrests are often overcharged traffic citations.
Sometimes, what should be a careless driving citation (a simple traffic ticket) is elevated to reckless driving because the officer is in a bad mood.
When I was a Miami-Dade prosecutor, I handled countless reckless driving cases when I worked at the County Court level.
As a criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with reckless driving in Miami-Dade and Broward, I believe that reckless driving is commonly overcharged. I aggressively fight these charges in an effort to keep my clients from getting points assessed against their licenses, and more importantly, to keep my clients from going to jail.
You can be physically arrested for reckless driving or issued a promise to appear (PTA). Either way, make no mistake about it. Reckless driving is a criminal offense. It is not the same as a traffic ticket.
If you have been arrested for reckless driving, call me today. If you have prior reckless driving charges on your record, the State of Florida may be seeking to put you in jail.