The Definition of Reckless Driving
Oklahoma law defines reckless driving as driving carelessly or wantonly, without regard for the safety of people or property around you, or driving in violation of the basic or posted speed limit (Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 11-901, 11-801).
You should consider and respect traffic, location, and road conditions while driving. Failure to do so could result in reckless driving and a subsequent conviction. Speed limits are designed to keep people and property safe. Considerably exceeding the speed limit could get you charged with reckless driving. Distracted driving can become reckless driving if you aren’t careful.
Carelessly and Wantonly
The two adjectives used in the Oklahoma statute on reckless driving are careless and wanton. Both words are synonyms of reckless. Careless means in a casual or reckless way. It implies that you didn’t consider the consequences of your actions and had a lack of regard for others’ safety.
Wanton means in a deliberate, unprovoked, or reckless way. It implies that you acted intentionally even though you should’ve known that your actions could’ve put others in harm’s way. Unlike careless, which implies a lack of regard, wanton goes further to an actual disregard.
Elements of Reckless Driving
If you’re facing charges for reckless driving, it’s important to understand what you’re up against. The prosecution must prove the following things beyond a reasonable doubt or else you can’t be convicted. You must have been:
- a motor vehicle
- in a careless or wanton manner
- and in disregard for the safety of persons or property
- or in violation of speed limits
- or exceeded a speed that a reasonable and prudent person would have considered to be reasonable given the road and traffic conditions
- or drove at an excessive speed that a reasonable and prudent person would have considered to be reasonable and proper in order to stop in the clear distance ahead
Some of these criteria can be difficult to prove. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, an attorney can help you build a strong defense to avoid a conviction. Reach out to defense attorney from Wirth Law Office – Claremore today.
Examples of Reckless Driving
As long as you meet all the other criteria, anything from speeding to driving under the influence can get you a reckless driving conviction. Some common examples of reckless driving are:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Forcing others off the road
- Cutting in front of another car and hitting your brakes (if careless or wanton)
If you believe you’re being wrongfully charged with reckless driving, a Claremore attorney can go over your options with you. It’s best to have skilled representation on your side to get the charges reduced or dropped.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. On the first offense, it is punishable by five to 90 days in jail. Instead of or in addition to the jail time, there could be a fine ranging from $100 to $500.
On second and subsequent convictions, the penalties go up. The minimum jail time goes up to ten days and the maximum could be as long as six months. The fines also increase. The range becomes $150 to $1,000. The jail time and fine could be separate or combined.
Free Consultation with a Claremore Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, it’s important that you retain the legal counsel of a defense attorney who can get you the best possible outcome for your situation. The attorneys at Wirth Law Office – Claremore can answer your questions and give you guidance. For a free consultation, call (918) 213-0950 or fill out the form at the top of the page.