Careless and reckless driving are sometimes confused by the public. They are quite different offenses. Careless driving, when it exists as an actual state law, is a civil violation and punished with relatively minor penalties compared to reckless driving. Reckless driving is a criminal charge and is punished by typical penalties for a misdemeanor. Careless driving does not exist as a separate statute in Georgia and is covered by other traffic offenses. If you are charged with reckless driving, you should hire an Atlanta traffic violation attorney to help you fight your charge.
What is Reckless Driving in Georgia?
Reckless driving is defined by the Georgia statute as “recklessly driving without regard for property or people”. The main problem with the statute is that there is no clearer definition of what actually constitutes reckless driving and the decision is normally left to a police officer to make a judgment. You could find that if you were driving over the speed limit by 20 mph, one officer might hand you a reckless driving ticket as well as a speeding ticket, while another might just give you a speeding ticket or even just give you a warning.
In most states, the definition of reckless driving assumes that someone is willfully driving recklessly, i.e. is consciously endangering the lives of other people or deliberately driving in such a way as to damage property. Even a well trained police officer would still find it hard to identify some examples of driving as “reckless” and others as “careless”.
The Penalties for Reckless Driving
If you are convicted of reckless driving, then you will be fined up to $1000, and will get 4 points on your license, as well as have a misdemeanor conviction on your driving record. The effects on your insurance premium will be quite serious as insurance companies view a reckless driving ticket as an example of high risk and raise your premium accordingly. The penalties for reckless driving will be more severe if you seriously injure or kill somebody. If you do kill someone then you could also receive a vehicular manslaughter charge in addition to the reckless driving one. This would be a felony charge and you could face imprisonment as a result.
Fighting a Reckless Driving Charge in Atlanta
The consequences of a reckless driving conviction are serious. For a start, you stand to lose quite a lot of money in fines, as well as increased insurance costs. You could lose your license as a result of the points on your license and the conviction could affect your job and future employment prospects. You should strongly consider hiring an Atlanta traffic attorney to help you fight your reckless driving charge. The attorney will carefully examine the circumstances of your arrest and look for inconsistencies and weaknesses in the procedure. He or she may be able to get your charge dismissed altogether or reduced to a lesser sentence so that at least it is not treated as a misdemeanor.