Getting a ticket for reckless driving can end your life as a driver. If you’re ready just to pay the ticket and move on with your life, you may want to think again. A reckless driving charge is a criminal offense. If convicted, there are severe consequences to this charge. You may even lose your license for reckless driving in North Carolina.

What Is Considered Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving happens when someone drives a car on a public road carelessly while not paying attention to others. It also includes ignoring or not caring about others’ rights or their safety. 

Reckless driving also occurs when someone drives without the caution and commonsense they should have while speeding or in a way that endangers someone (or something).

Reckless Driving can Include

You could potentially receive a reckless driving charge for anything from swerving back and forth between lanes on a yellow line to speeding and passing someone on the side of the road. Here are examples of acts that could bring a reckless driving charge:

  • Speeding at least 15 mph over the speed limit if driving over 55 MPH (possible 30 days license suspension)
  • Willful racing with another vehicle: (possible three years license suspension and vehicle seized)
  • Two convictions of speeding faster than 55 mph within one year (possible 12 months license suspension
  • Speeding faster than 80 mph 

However, reckless driving could include other types of behaviors. It is challenging to define reckless driving because of the broad language of the law. It is possible that reckless driving could consist of such behaviors as aggressive driving or cutting someone off while slamming on your brakes. 

If you are distracted to the point where you don’t care about others’ rights or careless with your driving, you may earn a reckless driving charge.

Can You Lose Your License for Reckless Driving?

All reckless driving convictions are a class 2 misdemeanor. Class 2 misdemeanors are criminal charges that can prevent you from finding a good job, getting a home mortgage, taking out a car loan, or working with children. With a criminal record, you may also struggle to date or lose a job you currently hold. 

Depending on the degree of your reckless driving and how the court views your actions, you could face these misdemeanor punishments:

  • Lose your license for up to one year
  • Pay $1000 in fines
  • Spend 60 days in jail

In addition, a reckless driving conviction causes increased insurance rates and points on your driver’s license. Your monthly car insurance payment could skyrocket hundreds of dollars per month. It is quite costly to earn a reckless driving conviction.

How Do I Fight a Reckless Driving Conviction?

For a court to hand out a conviction of reckless driving, the court must prove you were negligent. According to the UNC Criminal Law Blog, the State must introduce enough evidence to show that your manner of driving endangered someone or something for you to be convicted.

The UNC Criminal Law blog also lists some cases where individuals faced a guilty conviction for reckless driving:

  • During a high-speed chase over 60 mph in the rain, the driver almost hit an oil tanker and crossed double yellow lines.
  • Drove motorcycle 90 mph in a 45 mph zone while tailgating an unmarked police car and tried to pass on a curvy road double yellow line and on the shoulder of the road. 
  • Driving while impaired going 92 mph in a 45 mph zone.
  • Drove 82 mph in a 55 mph zone and crossed double yellow lines while maneuvering around slower vehicles.

These examples show how reckless driving can vary in actuality depending on the driver’s speed and behavior. 

How Can I Fight A Reckless Driving Conviction?

If you have a charge for reckless driving, you need to fight. If it is your first offense and you have the expertise of a criminal defense lawyer, your chances of having the charge reduced are higher. Getting a reckless driving charge reduced to a civil penalty rather than a criminal offense can keep your record clean. A criminal record is nothing to laugh about and can cause you to face criminal prosecution and time in jail.

We Can Help

As soon as you receive a reckless driving charge, it is essential to seek legal representation. With an experienced traffic attorney, you have a chance to fight a reckless driving conviction. If you just pay, thereby pleading guilty, you could lose your license or spend time in jail. This criminal charge is not a situation to take lightly or ignore.

At Cape Fear Law, we are committed to protecting your driving record and your future. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and find out how we can help.