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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
While a reckless driving charge may seem minor, it is important to remember that this is a criminal offense, not a simple traffic citation. Upon conviction, individuals would have a misdemeanor charge on their permanent criminal record and could face heavy fines and jail time.
Because the consequences of a reckless driving conviction can be harsh, anyone facing this charge should consider retaining legal counsel. A Midland reckless driving lawyer could carefully analyze the evidence against you and raise a powerful defense on your behalf.
The Definition of Reckless Driving in Texas
A person can face reckless driving charges for activity that occurs in parking garages, in parking lots, on public roads, and in other areas that are available to the public. Texas Transportation Code §545.401 states that reckless driving occurs if a person operates an automobile with “wilful or wanton disregard” for the wellbeing of others or their personal property. It is important to clarify that willful refers to acting deliberately or intentionally, while wanton refers to acting with a conscious disregard of the potential consequences.
Some types of driving behavior that may constitute reckless driving include:
- Failing to maintain reasonable control of the vehicle
- Operating a vehicle at an excessive speed
- Passing over double yellow lines
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Running red lights or stop signs.
- Driving while distracted by electronic devices
Potential Penalties Upon Conviction
Reckless driving is punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $200. Additionally, a person could face a license suspension and other consequences if authorities view them as a habitual traffic violator. These charges are particularly severe because the state of Texas recognizes that reckless driving behaviors pose a risk to other drivers, pedestrians, and their personal property.
The Texas Driver Responsibility Program
In accordance with the Texas Driver Responsibility Program, points are placed against a person who is convicted of reckless driving. Points lasts for a period of three years and are divided into the following types:
- Two points – any traffic conviction that occurs in Texas or outside the state
- Three Points – any Texas or out of state traffic conviction that involved a crash
In accordance with Texas Transportation Code §521.292(a)(3), the state of Texas can suspend a person’s driver’s license if they repeatedly violate traffic laws. A person is defined as a habitual violator if they have:
- Four or more separate convictions in the course of one year or twelve consecutive months, or
- Seven or more convictions in the course of a 24-month period.
If a person’s driver’s license is suspended, that individual will need to obtain SR-22 insurance for a period of three years. It should be noted that this insurance is often much more expensive than other policies. For individuals who must drive for work, a reckless driving conviction can jeopardize their livelihood.
Speak to a Midland Reckless Driving Attorney Today
If you face reckless driving charges, retaining legal counsel can make a critical difference in the outcome of your case. With help from a Midland reckless driving lawyer, you could raise a strong defense and fight back against your charges. Call today to schedule a case review.