In Arizona, a criminal citation for reckless driving can end up being far more serious than a simple traffic ticket. Unlike civil traffic speeding and other minor traffic violations, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense, and anyone convicted of this charge may be heavily fined, face a license suspension, put on probation, and potentially even required to serve time in jail.
Fortunately, it is possible to contest a charge of reckless driving with help from a dedicated traffic ticket attorney. Whether you were stopped and issued a ticket for reckless driving and released with a court date, OR you were arrested and charged with reckless driving, getting in touch with a Phoenix reckless driving lawyer should be one of the first things you do. Call today to learn more about the next steps you can take from an experienced Phoenix criminal attorney.
How Does State Law Define Reckless Driving?
Unfortunately, Arizona state law is somewhat vague when it comes to establishing exactly what constitutes the criminal offense of reckless driving. Under Arizona Revised Statutes §28-693, a person may be charged with reckless driving if they operate a motor vehicle in a way which indicates “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
In most situations, a citation for reckless driving stems solely from the judgement of the law enforcement officer who pulled the defendant over, so the exact rationale an officer may use to charge someone with this offense can vary. What one officer may consider reckless disregard or criminally dangerous, another may see as only cause for a minor traffic ticket.
Fortunately, since this offense is so subjective by nature, a local Phoenix Traffic Defense Attorney may be able to help a defendant argue that they should not have been charged with reckless driving. Depending on the situation, an effective defense could center around reviewing and challenging the recollections of the police officer involved or disputing the notion that the defendant’s driving behavior actually endangered anybody else.
Potential Penalties Following a Conviction
For someone with no prior record of unsafe driving, a single reckless driving offense is a class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted of this offense, a defendant may be punished with a $750 fine, additional court surcharges of up to $630, probation and/or four months in jail, and a 90-day license suspension.
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 prior to their arrest for reckless driving. Under these circumstances, this offense is considered a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a minimum jail sentence of 20 days up to a maximum of six months, a possible maximum of $4,000 in fines and surcharges, and permanent loss of license and driving privileges.
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 will require them to immediately complete an in-person eight hour session of Traffic Survival School (TSS). If a convicted person does not attend these classes, or if they have attended Traffic Survival School within the previous 24 months, their driver’s license will be suspended.
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.
Work with a Phoenix Reckless Driving Attorney Today
While it is possible to effectively contest an accusation of reckless driving, that does not mean it is easy.
Most Reckless Driving cases 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 side with police officers many times 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 Reckless Driving Charge,. Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation and to discuss a possible strategy session with one of our Reckless Driving Lawyers. Let us help you navigate this.