When you get a driver’s license in Arizona, you are tasked with being in control of your vehicle and not endangering yourself or others. When this doesn’t happen, you can be charged with reckless driving. Statute ARS 28-693 says that if you operate your vehicle “in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property”, you are guilty of reckless driving. Often, if you cause an accident that harms someone or damages another vehicle or someone’s property, you will be charged with reckless driving.
Actions that could lead to a Reckless Driving charge include (but are not limited to):
- Texting or using a phone while driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to stop or yield
- Driving while very tired or intoxicated
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is not without penalties, most often including suspended (or revoked) licence, fines, and/or jail time. The amount of money and time you are set to lose varies by whether this is a first or second offense.
If you have never been convicted of Reckless Driving in the past, the possible penalties are lighter than in future cases. These include:
- Fines of up to $750, plus surcharges
- Probation or up to 4 months in jail
- License suspended for up to 90 days
Second offense (or more)
With a second or further offense within two years of the original conviction, the fines and possible jail time increase sharply. These include:
- Fines of up to $2,500, plus surcharges
- Mandatory 20 days in jail, up to 6 months
- License suspended or revoked permanently
Use in DUI Cases
Sometimes, in a DUI case, the charge will be downgraded to Reckless Driving. This can be beneficial because Reckless Driving does not carry a mandatory jail sentence for the first offense and DUI does. To learn more about DUI charges and how a great attorney can help you navigate them, please visit here.
What should you do if you’re charged with reckless driving?
If you are pulled over by a police officer, you must provide your license and registration...but you are not obliged to provide anything else. You should always remain silent; you have that right and you should certainly exercise it. Instead, politely but firmly refuse to discuss your driving. Instead, ask to speak to a lawyer. This will have two benefits: it will end any interrogation, and it will make sure your rights are upheld during the process. You would be surprised how many people accidentally waive their Miranda rights. Refuse any and all roadside tests until you have spoken to your lawyer.
The most effective defense begins with a good lawyer. Someone on your side, to make sure your Constitutional rights are protected at all times, is vital to make sure you can get through this as quickly and cleanly as possible.