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Possible Defenses for Reckless Driving Charges

Reckless Driving Lawyer in Gilbert, AZ

Facing reckless driving charges in Phoenix, Arizona can be overwhelming, especially without the right legal team on your side. At the Law Offices of Brandon White, our experienced Phoenix reckless driving lawyers can help navigate Arizona's complex driving laws, defend your rights, and strive for the best possible outcome in your case.

What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Arizona?

A ticket for reckless driving in Arizona is a criminal traffic charge that can involve serious consequences. A.R.S. § 28-693 covers reckless driving, and it's defined as when “a person drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Opinions vary on what exactly constitutes a danger to people or property, but here are some examples of situations where we see reckless driving tickets:

  • Egregious speeding: This depends on the jurisdiction, but sometimes we see reckless driving tickets together with excessive speed tickets when the speeds are 40, 50, 60, or more mph over the posted speed limit;
  • A pattern of moving violations: If a police officer observes a driver commits a series of moving violations, he might write a ticket for reckless driving or aggressive driving;
  • Donuts or burnouts on private property;
  • Some traffic accidents: Most accidents are just a driver's mistake, but if the driver was doing something like speeding or burnout that caused the accident, a ticket for reckless driving might be issued.

Potential Penalties Following an Arizona Reckless Driving Conviction

Stages of a Gilbert Reckless Driving Case

Unlike civil traffic speeding and other minor traffic violations, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense. Anyone convicted of this charge may be heavily fined, face a license suspension, be put on probation, and potentially even be required to serve time in jail.

Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. While it's less serious than a class 1 misdemeanor like a DUI, it's still a very serious moving violation.

First Conviction

If you're convicted of reckless driving, the potential penalties include:

  • A class 2 misdemeanor conviction;
  • Up to a $750 fine plus surcharges, which could bring the fine close to $1,500;
  • Up to 4 months in jail;
  • Up to 2 years probation;
  • The judge may suspend your driving privileges for up to 90 days. See A.R.S. 28-693(C);
  • 8 points on your driving record.

For most first-time convictions, the consequences are limited to the misdemeanor conviction, a fine far less than the maximum, the points, and no jail time and no probation.

These consequences may be enhanced significantly if the defendant was previously convicted of reckless driving or negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, any racing-related offense, or any form of DUI within the 24 months before their arrest for reckless driving.

Second Conviction

What Is Considered Reckless Driving in Arizona

If you've been convicted in the previous 24 months of reckless driving, negligent homicide with a car, manslaughter with a car, racing, DUI, extreme DUI, or aggravated DUI, a reckless driving conviction becomes a class 1 misdemeanor. See A.R.S. 28-693(D)(1). In this case, the possible penalties could include:

  • Minimum 20 days in jail with the possibility of up to 6 months in jail;
  • The fine increases to $2,500 plus surcharges, bringing the total possible fine close to $5,000;
  • Up to 3 years probation;
  • Mandatory 1-year license suspension;
  • 8 points on your driving record.

In addition to any criminal penalties they may face, anyone convicted of reckless driving in Arizona will receive eight points on their Arizona driver's license, which requires them to immediately complete an in-person eight-hour session of Traffic Survival School (TSS). If a convicted person doesn't attend these classes, or if they have attended Traffic Survival School within the previous 24 months, their driver's license will be suspended.

Stages of a Gilbert Reckless Driving Case

When a driver is issued with reckless driving in Gilbert, they're either (1) issued a traffic ticket and released by an officer with a court date in which they're required to appear or (2) they are arrested and booked into jail until they see a judge and released.

Possible Defenses for Reckless Driving Charges in Phoenix, Arizona

Reckless Driving Conviction

Several potential defenses may help fight reckless driving charges in Phoenix, Arizona:

  • Responding to a traffic emergency: Demonstrating that you were trying to avoid a collision or swerving to avoid a sudden obstacle;
  • Car malfunction: Proving your car experienced a sudden mechanical issue, like brake failure, that impaired your ability to drive normally;
  • Lack of danger: Explaining that given your location at the time, no persons or property were actually in jeopardy from your driving;
  • Procedural issues: Identifying any infringements of your rights throughout the traffic stop or citation process that could lead to dismissal;
  • Context of the driving: Showing your driving didn't meet the standard for criminal recklessness under specific circumstances;
  • Misjudgment by officer: Contesting the officer's discretion and explanation of why you were deemed as driving recklessly.

While these defenses may help, every reckless driving allegation is unique. There's no guaranteed strategy to avoid penalties. Because "reckless" is subjective, the citing officer has broad discretion in determining what driving to charge as reckless. A Phoenix criminal defense attorney can advise you on the best defense based on the details of your traffic stop and charges.

Why You Need a Phoenix Reckless Driving Charge Attorney in Arizona

While it's possible to effectively contest an accusation of reckless driving, that doesn't mean it's easy.

Most cases involving reckless driving are assigned to a prosecuting attorney to represent the State so drivers should seek the advice and counsel of a defense attorney to help protect their interests. Let's face it, prosecutors in Arizona often side with police officers in these kinds of cases, and they have the authority to pursue harsh penalties if you have a prior record of driving-related offenses.

If you were recently arrested or facing a reckless driving charge, call the Law Offices of Brandon White today to schedule a complimentary consultation and strategy session with one of our reckless driving lawyers. 

Our attorneys can:

  • Review the details of your case and police report;
  • Advise you on possible defense strategies;
  • Represent you in negotiations with the prosecutor;
  • Defend you in court proceedings if needed;
  • Seek to minimize penalties and protect your driving privileges.

If you received a ticket for reckless driving, it is out of one of the following courts: Kyrene Justice Court, San Tan Justice Court, San Marcos Justice Court, University Lakes Justice Court, or Gilbert Municipal Court. If any of these courts are listed, let our Gilbert reckless driving lawyer help you. Our seasoned attorneys know these courts well and have helped numerous clients navigate their cases.

Why Choose Us for Your Criminal Reckless Driving Case in Phoenix?

When it comes to your case on criminal reckless driving in Phoenix, there are countless compelling reasons to choose Brandon White Law for skilled legal representation.

Here are only some key benefits of working with us:

  • Extensive legal experience: Our team has comprehensive knowledge of Arizona's traffic laws and the intricacies of the criminal justice system, enabling us to build robust defense strategies. We have a wealth of experience in handling criminal reckless driving cases to ensure that your case is in capable hands;
  • Proven track record: We have a strong track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients, with successful defenses in reckless driving cases;
  • Personalized attention: We understand the unique aspects of each case and provide personalized attention to every client, tailoring our approach to suit their needs.

By choosing Brandon White Law, you can trust that your criminal case will be handled with skill, dedication, and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

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Do you need a skilled Arizona lawyer for reckless driving in Phoenix? Contact us today for seasoned legal assistance.

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The arraignment date is simply the date on which you'll enter a plea. If you hire an attorney before your arraignment date, your attorney will file paperwork with the court entering a “not guilty” plea. The court will then vacate, or cancel, your arraignment date and set a new date for a pretrial conference.

Pretrial Conference

The pretrial conference is often the first opportunity for your attorney to meet with the prosecutor in your case to discuss settlement and request information (known as discovery) that may be useful in defending against the charge. Sometimes, not much happens before the initial pretrial conference. This is because the rules of criminal procedure in a misdemeanor case require the prosecutor to do very little before that initial pretrial conference. You can expect that there will be several pretrial conferences, usually occurring about 30 days apart.


Before your initial pretrial conference, we will send discovery requests to the prosecutor seeking to get information that may be helpful to your case. We'll continue the discovery process until we have all the available relevant information. Things we might seek include the officer’s narrative, on-body camera video, dash camera video, and anything else we think is relevant.


After we've finished the discovery process, we may submit a written request to the prosecution asking them to deviate from the charge. In other words, we may ask them to offer a plea for something less, like two civil violations such as speeding and unsafe lane change. This request will present your background and good character, and depending on what we've learned during the discovery process, ideally, we can make a factual argument too.

Resolution – Plea Agreement or Trial

Pretrial conferences will continue to occur until either a settlement has been reached, or until it's apparent that no settlement can be reached and all relevant information has been obtained from the prosecutor, at which point the case will be set for trial. If we can reach an agreement, the court will generally conduct a change of plea hearing to formally resolve the case by way of a plea agreement.


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Regular Phoenix DUI or DWI

A regular DUI is considered driving with a BAC of 0.08-0.14% or driving with a controlled substance in your bloodstream.

Penalties include:

  • Undergoing a substance abuse screening assessment;
  • Completing substance abuse treatment program;
  • Serving 10 consecutive days in jail and payin g jail costs;
  • An additional 9 days in jail will be suspended if the substance abuse program is completed;
  • $250 fine plus any surcharge;
  • $500 State Prison Construction and $500 State General Fund payments.

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I’m Extremely satisfied with Brandon white and his team I’m from California and got a traffic ticket in Arizona they took care of everything and were able to get my ticket dismissed Great people and very helpful.

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The team of Brandon White is a wonderful team. They help my husband a lot and solve all the problems about the traffice case. Every member is so nice and patient. Our English are not good . They explain everything for us and send emails to tell us in detail. I really, really appreciate them and the price is cheap and fine. And no more other fees. Thank you very much!

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Brandon reached out to me without expectations or any obligation to help with an issue I had. I appreciate the genuine kindness. Good stuff.

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The whole staff at Brandon White is to be commended……They were thorough with my Traffic Case and kept in touch , communicating the possible outcomes and strategies. I would recommend them to anyone that needs legal help in a Traffic Civil or Criminal situation.

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I just had a telephone consultation with Mr. White and he took the time to explain to me every option I had to resolve a photo radar ticket I recieved in Mesa. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone seeking legal advice. Thanks again Brandon, I appreciate the honesty and clear communication we had.

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I was in an accident and needed an attorney as soon as possible. I was referred to The Law Office of Brandon White, Him and his amazing team fought for the best outcome and are so client willing. Everything is done for your best interest and not just theirs. I highly recommend this attorney and am so thankful to be referred there.



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Contact a Phoenix, Arizona Reckless Driving Attorney Today

Contact the team at the Law Offices of Brandon White today for a free consultation! Give us a call or text us and we will contact you as soon as possible!

Average response time: 1 business day


Can I attend a defensive driving school to avoid a reckless driving conviction in Arizona?

No, attending Traffic School isn't an option to avoid a reckless driving conviction in Arizona. Reckless driving charges require legal representation and cannot be resolved through defensive driving courses.

What speed is considered reckless driving in Arizona?

In Arizona, driving at a speed of 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit, or exceeding 85 mph regardless of the speed limit, can be considered reckless.

Is reckless driving a felony in Arizona?

Reckless driving is typically a misdemeanor offense in Arizona. However, if it involves serious injuries or death, it can be charged as a felony that appears on your criminal record, leading to severe penalties.

Can a reckless driving charge be expunged in Arizona?

Unlike most other criminal driving offenses, defendants convicted of reckless driving can apply to have their conviction set aside under certain circumstances. A reckless driving lawyer in Phoenix could discuss with a defendant whether this “set-aside option” might be a possibility in their case.

How many points is a reckless driving ticket in Arizona?

A ticket for reckless driving in Arizona typically results in 8 points being added to your driving record. Accumulating too many points may lead to license suspension or other penalties regarding a motor vehicle.

Why would a police officer issue a reckless driving ticket when there was no reckless driving?

We frequently see a reckless driving charge tacked on to a criminal speed/excessive speed ticket. The police officer’s position is typically that it was reckless to drive at an excessive speed. It's our opinion that police officers add reckless driving to criminal speed tickets, even when there's no basis for the charge because doing so places the driver in a worse bargaining position when negotiating with the prosecutor. This results in an increased conviction rate for excessive speed charges.

How much is the fine for a reckless driving ticket?

Although the maximum allowed fine, including surcharges and assessments, can approach $1,500, most fines are going to be in the $400-$700 range. Sometimes a driver isn't driving recklessly but gets charged with reckless driving anyway.

In Arizona, can you go to jail for reckless driving?

Yes. Although you'll rarely see jail time approaching the statutory maximum of 4 months, it's possible that a prosecutor could seek several days of jail in egregious cases. In cases that involve a prior conviction within the preceding 24 months, there's a mandatory 20 days of jail time upon conviction. Sometimes a driver will be booked into jail when they are arrested for the violation. This is usually only a few hours or maybe a day of jail time.