In the State of Florida, reckless driving is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
In order to be charged with reckless driving, the State must prove the following elements:
1) Defendant drove a vehicle in Florida.
2) He or she did so with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
"Willful" means intentionally, knowingly and purposely.
"Wanton" means with a conscious and intentional indifference to consequences and with knowledge that damage is likely to be done to persons or property.
As a former prosecutor in Miami-Dade County, I can assure you that defendants charged with reckless driving are not offered pretrial diversion (PTD). The State's initial plea offer for a person without a criminal record is a withhold of adjudication (not a conviction), payment of court costs, a $250 fine, and 8 - 12 hours of traffic school.
If you are charged with DUI, then a breakdown to reckless driving is a good thing, given the fact that it doesn't carry the stigma or statutory driver's license suspension of a DUI conviction. However, if charged only with reckless, then it should be fought. In addition to the fines, costs, and traffic school; your insurance rates could skyrocket, should your carrier decide to keep you. Also, reckless driving is a criminal traffic offense, which means that it is a criminal charge that goes on your record. As a South Florida criminal attorney who handles reckless driving cases in Miami and Broward, I always offer my clients the opportunity to have their records sealed or expunged.
You may be physically arrested for reckless driving, or you may be issued a promise to appear (PTA). Either way, it's an arrest. You should never walk into criminal court without the aid of a South Florida criminal lawyer from our firm.
Call me today to discuss your reckless driving case.