The term “reckless driving” is defined as a driving pattern that involves the “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” as explained in Florida Statute § 316.192.
According to the standard jury instructions, the term “willful” is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, and purposefully.” The term “wanton” means “with a conscious and intentional indifference to the consequences and with the knowledge that damages is likely to be done to person or property.”
For a conviction of reckless driving, excessive speed alone is not sufficient to constitute evidence of reckless driving. W.E.B v. State, 553 So.2d 323, 326 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989). Likewise, running a stop sign with a blinking light did not constitute a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. National Car Rental Systems, Inc. v. Holland, 269 So.2d 407 (Fla. 4th DCA 1972).
An allegation that a person intentionally drove a car so as to threaten another was sufficient to constitute a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. LaValley v. State, 633 So.2d 1126 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994); Wallace v. State, 688 So.2d 429 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1997).
Reckless driving involves a driving pattern that demonstrates an intentional disregard for the safety of persons or property. On the other hand, careless driving involves a failure to operate the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner.
Attorneys for Reckless Driving in Tampa, FL
If you were arrested for or charged with reckless driving, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in fighting serious traffic crimes in Tampa, FL, including DUI, reckless driving, and racing on highways.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, possible defenses, or the best ways to avoid the typical consequences.
Our main office is located in downtown Tampa just a few blocks from the courthouse. We also have offices in Clearwater in Pinellas County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
Penalties for Reckless Driving Crimes in Florida
Under Florida law, a conviction for reckless driving is punishable as follows:
- For a first offense of reckless driving:
- the fine is $25-500
- the requirement for jail time is 0-90 days
- probation for up to 6 months
- For a first offense of reckless driving with damage to a person or property:
- the fine is $0 to $1,000
- the requirement for jail time is 0-364 days
- the probation is up to 12 months
- For a second offense of reckless driving:
- the fine is $50-1,000
- the requirement for jail time is up to 6 months in jail
- the probation for up to 6 months
- For a second offense of reckless driving with damage to a person or property:
- the fine is $40-1,000
- the requirement for jail time is up to 12 months in jail
- the probation is up to 12 months
If the court has reasonable cause to believe that alcohol or drugs contributed to the violation, then the court is required to order the completion of DUI program substance abuse and evaluation as provided in Florida Statute Section 316.193(5).
Reckless Driving with Damage to Property or Person
If a person is charged with reckless driving with damage to property or person (of another), it is charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
If the use of alcohol was a significant factor, then probation may be imposed for a time period of up to 12 months. Otherwise, up to six months of probation may be imposed if the charge does not involve damage to property or a person under Section 948.15.
Reckless driving with property damage can be charged as a first-degree felony punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Reckless driving causing serious bodily injury can be charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in Flordia State Prison.
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