Willful, Wanton & Reckless Driving

When you obtain a driver’s license in the State of Florida, you are expected to adhere to state-mandated guidelines and traffic laws. You should drive with consideration to other drivers and pedestrians to keep safe yourself and the people around you. When drivers collectively follow driving rules, the roads are typically safe and occurrences of automobile accidents and catastrophes can be minimized.

Reckless driving can be fatal for drivers and pedestrians alike, but charges associated with willful, wanton, and reckless driving can also result in severe legal consequences to the charged individual. If you’re charged with reckless driving, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with Silverman and Mack, LLC. We will protect your rights while ensuring the best possible result for your case.

How Is Reckless Driving Determined?

A type of vehicular crime, reckless driving is governed by Florida Statute § 316.192. According to the statute, Reckless driving is comprised of two factual elements.

  • The individual drove a motor vehicle
  • The individual drove with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons and/or property.

How Is Reckless Driving Different From Careless Driving?

Reckless driving can be considered equal to the civil infraction of “careless driving” but with the added element of intent. Reckless driving occurs when the driver knows that he or she is operating his or her vehicle in an unsafe manner that may result in damage to property or compromise the safety and wellbeing of other people both within and surrounding the general vicinity.

In contrast, careless driving occurs when driving is not done in a careful and prudent manner. For example, a driver who increases the speed of his or her vehicle several miles per hour over the speed limit during a rainstorm, or someone who makes a right-hand turn without checking that both right and left directions are clear, participates in careless behavior on the road.

Careless drivers often commit unintentional mistakes and errors that result in accidents, Reckless driving, a criminal offense, can be difficult to prove in a court of law because of the number of common similarities to careless driving, which is a civil offense. For example, fleeing from a law enforcement officer always meets the requirements of reckless driving, but it typically carries charges different from reckless driving.

What Are The Penalties To Reckless Driving?

A first conviction for willful, wanton, and reckless driving is considered a second-degree misdemeanor or “specified traffic offense” and carries up to 90 days in jail, 6 months of probation, and/or a $500 fine. A second or subsequent offense is also a second-degree misdemeanor but the maximum incarceration sentence increases from 90 days to 180 days jail.

If the reckless driving resulted in property damage, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum of one year in jail, one year of probation and/or a $1,000 fine. A conviction for willful, wanton, and reckless driving through which bodily injury resulted is charged a third-degree felony with a maximum of 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation and up to a $5,000 fine.

In addition to the individually categorized charges to each type of penalty, the vast majority of charges associated with reckless driving result in revoked or suspended driving privileges. For more information, contact us to speak with a Gainesville attorney today.

Do I Need An Attorney For Reckless Driving Charges?

From charges of driving while under the influence (DUI) to failure to general driver negligence, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to handle your case. Regardless of the fine or offense you may be charged with, you need adequate legal representation to ensure the best possible result to your case. Reckless driving may seem like a simple charge, but it can have severe and long-lasting effects on your life as well as the lives of others. Protect your rights — contact our law firm today.