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Reckless Driving

The term "reckless driving" is defined as a driving pattern that involves the "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." § 316.192. According to the standard jury instructions, the term "willful" 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).

The 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). See also Wallace v. State, 688 So.2d 429 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1997).

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 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.

Call 813-250-0500.


Penalties for Reckless Driving Crimes in Florida

A conviction for reckless driving is punishable as follows:

  • For a first offense of reckless driving
    • fine of $25-500 but for a first offense with damage to person or property the fine is $0 to $1,000;
    • 0-90 days in jail but for a first offense with damage to person or property the jail time is 0-364 days;
    • probation for up to 6 months but if damage to person/property or alcohol, the probation is up to 12 months

  • For a second offense of reckless driving -
    • fine of $50-1,000 (the same fine applies for a second offense with with damage to person or property);
    • up to 6 months in jail but for a first offense with damage to person or property the jail time is up to 12 months;
    • probation for up to 6 months but if damage to person/property or alcohol, the probation is up to 12 months

If the court has reasonable cause to believe that alcohol or drugs contributed to violation the court SHALL order completion of DUI program substance abuse and evaluation as provided in s. 316.193(5).


Reckless Driving is More Than Just Careless Driving

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.


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 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.


This article was last updated on Friday, September 13, 2019.