How to Beat a Florida Traffic Ticket, Part B

Being charged with reckless or careless driving is a serious traffic offense under Florida law. Make sure you understand your charges and discuss all of your legal options with a qualified Florida traffic attorney before pleading guilty. 

Reckless Driving 

Florida statutes define reckless driving as driving a vehicle in such a way as to demonstrate “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” It is important to keep in mind that “willful or wanton” is defined primarily by the arresting officer.  

Reckless driving is a criminal charge and must be handled with extreme care. 

Penalties for a Reckless Driving conviction can include: 

  • Arrest
  • Up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine (first offense)
  • Up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine (subsequent offenses)
  • Four points on your license
  • Court costs
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Driving school
  • Increased mandatory minimum penalties for subsequent charges  

Causing any kind of property damage increases the above penalties. Causing property damage can constitute being charged with a first degree misdemeanor carrying up to a year of imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000. Causing serious bodily injury will result in a third degree felony charge which carries a possible five years imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000. 

Careless Driving & Aggressive Careless Driving 

Careless driving occurs when a driver fails to operate his or her vehicle in a “careful and prudent” manner. Drivers have an obligation to pay attention to any dangerous conditions on the road and must not drive in any manner likely to put other drivers at risk. 

Comparatively, Aggressive Careless Driving is committing 2 or more of the following at either the same time or successively:   

  • Speeding in excess of 15 MPH over the legal speed limit
  • Improper or unsafe lane changes
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Failing to yield a right of way
  • Improperly passing
  • Violating any traffic control or signal device 

Both Careless and Aggressive Careless Driving are non-criminal moving violations. 

Penalties include: 

  • Fines
  • Three points on your license
  • Possible suspension of a license (if multiple traffic violations or points already exist on your driver’s record) 

Attacking the Charges 

Because of the subjective nature of these charges, the standard of what rises to the level of careless or reckless behavior is unclear at best and will always be open to interpretation. The burden is on the arresting officer to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was in fact driving recklessly and defenses then lie in attacking the officer’s account of the situation. 

Working with an experienced Florida traffic attorney can keep you out of jail and your driver’s license intact. A qualified Florida traffic attorney understands everything the prosecution must prove in order to convict you and knows how to argue those points in court. 

Don’t let the legal system take away your rights, contact the Florida Traffic attorneys at The Criminal Law Group for a FREE consultation at our convenient Ft. Lauderdale or North Miami locations: 305-759-9169 or 954-759-9169.

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