Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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Reckless driving is a serious charge in Michigan

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Like other states, Michigan law makes what it calls reckless driving a crime.

Someone accused of reckless driving faces the possibility of jail for up to about three months and a fine of $500.

Also, Michiganders will have a license suspension of 90 days. They also may face other penalties such as increased insurance premiums and, if they drive as part of their career, long-term job loss. If there was an accident, those convicted may also open themselves up to civil lawsuits.

The penalties for reckless driving get more serious if the charge is connected to a serious accident. The driver will face a felony conviction, prison for up to 5 years and a fine of up to $5,000. The court may also order the driver’s car forfeited to the state.

After a deadly accident, a person convicted of reckless driving may go to prison for 15 years.

Someone accused of reckless driving needs to know their legal options

Police and prosecutors in Michigan have a lot of leeway to charge a driver with reckless driving.

Basically, if they think a driver knew or should have known they were driving unsafely, they may file the charge.

Practically, it does not take a lot to be on the receiving end of a reckless driving charge. A student who is in a hurry to get to class and goes too fast through a neighborhood may be charged.

Even following too closely or trying to beat a red light can lead to a criminal charge.

Although road rage can also lead to a reckless driving charge, one does not have to be angry or doing anything obvious, like drag racing, to be arrested for reckless driving.

Likewise, alcohol and drugs do not have to be involved for police and prosecutors to file this charge. What may at worst be nothing more than a stupid mistake can change the course of a person’s life.

Given there are serious penalties for reckless driving, especially in the wake of a significant accident, a driver accused should make sure they understand all of their legal options and possible defenses.