Traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury in this country. To keep everyone as safe as possible, every driver must work hard to make responsible and lawful decisions while behind the wheel. To enforce this principle, it is against the law to drive recklessly.
A ticket for reckless driving is not just a civil infraction but is a misdemeanor criminal offense. It is a serious offense that could have long-lasting consequences on your driving record and your life. If you are facing a ticket for reckless driving, contact a Lansing traffic defense attorney today to discuss your case.
According to Section 257.626 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, a person is guilty of reckless driving when he or she “operates a vehicle…in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Those found guilty of violating this provision may face:
- A misdemeanor conviction, 93 days in jail, and a fine of up to $500.
- A felony conviction, up to five years in prison, and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 for offenders who cause serious injury to another.
- A felony conviction, up to 15 years in prison, and a fine between $2,500 and $10,000 for offenders who cause the death of another person.
Other Possible Consequences
If you are found guilty of reckless driving, you may face more than steep fines and jail time. A conviction may impact you in a number of other possible ways including:
- Other Fines and Fees – Unsurprisingly, a reckless driving conviction could seriously impact your driving privileges. Points will be added to your license, and depending on your record and the circumstances of your ticket, you may face other sanctions like restrictions or suspension. If your license is suspended, you may have to pay a costly Driver’s Responsibility Fee in addition to other sanction-related costs.
- Rising Insurance Rates – Michigan drivers are required to carry no-fault insurance at all times, and premiums are already more expensive than many places in the country. If you have a reckless driving ticket on your record, especially if you’ve caused serious injury or worse, expect to pay even more expensive premiums for years to come.
- Background Check – You can’t get too far in life these days without someone running a background check. If you are applying for a job, a home, a loan or to get into a university, chances are someone will be thoroughly checking your record. A misdemeanor or felony reckless driving conviction could hurt your chances and lessen your viability as a candidate. What’s more, even a misdemeanor conviction will be on your record permanently, as a traffic offense is ineligible for expungement in Michigan.
- Civil Liability – If the circumstances of your ticket led to the serious injury or death of another person, you may also face civil penalties. A criminal conviction could be used as evidence of your guilt.
- Job Loss – If you drive for a living or driving is a major part of your job, a reckless driving ticket could make you no longer employable. If you work in another field, depending on your employer’s policies regarding criminal convictions, you may face termination or other sanctions.
How A Lansing Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Because the potential consequences of a reckless driving ticket are so severe, it’s important to consult with a professional traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough interview, talk to available witnesses, investigate potential surveillance footage and any other evidence. She will talk to you about the potential outcomes of your case, and advise you on how best to proceed. Every case is different, but your lawyer may explore a number of possible strategies on your behalf including:
- Negotiation – Your lawyer knows the law, and has solid working relationships with the prosecutors and judges in the Lansing legal community. Depending on the circumstances of your ticket, she may be able to negotiate a plea arrangement on your behalf, for example having your charges lowered from reckless driving to careless driving or some other less serious offense.
- You Weren’t At Fault – Allegedly reckless driving may not always be what it appears. Perhaps your seemingly reckless behavior was an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with another driver who made a mistake. Your lawyer will collect evidence to support your claim.
- You Had a Medical Event – If you suddenly experienced an unexpected medical event while driving, like a stroke or seizure, you may not be guilty of reckless driving. Your lawyer will collect evidence from your medical records and doctors to help support this defense.
- You Didn’t Drive Recklessly – Police officers make mistakes, and perhaps you simply did not drive recklessly. Your lawyer will collect evidence, witness testimony and interview your ticketing officer to help support your claim.
Having a violation for reckless driving on your record can have long-lasting consequences. Talk to a Lansing criminal defense lawyer today to learn more about your options, contact DeBruin Law, PLLC at 517-731-0353.