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What happens if you get accused of reckless driving?

People often make the mistake of not taking certain traffic violations as seriously as they should. Quite a few people think that reckless driving is no more significant than a speeding ticket, but they may learn otherwise the hard way.

Unlike some traffic violations, reckless driving is a criminal offense, which means that the penalties and long-term consequences are more significant.  This is particularly true for out-of-state drivers and drivers that hold CDL licenses.

Not only could prospective employers find this blemish on your criminal and driving records, but you could also struggle to secure insurance for your vehicle or maintain your existing job.

What constitutes reckless driving?

It can be hard to know when you engage in reckless driving because the definition is so broad. According to South Carolina law, reckless driving involves someone in control of a vehicle behaving with wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or their property.

Examples of reckless driving could include speeding excessively, racing or driving the wrong way down a one-way street, or even weaving in traffic in a way that could be perceived as dangerous. The officer involved in the traffic stop will have significant discretion when they decide whether to cite you with a ticket or charge you with reckless driving.

What are the penalties for reckless driving?

Even a first offense for reckless driving carries more significant penalties than a traffic ticket. You can face as much as 30 days in jail for a first offense and fines of up to $200 (which does not even include standardized court assessments which can take the fine as high as $600+). A second reckless driving offense within five years could mean jail time, fines, and the loss of your license.

Each reckless driving charge adds six points to your license, with 12 points being the threshold at which the state can suspend your license. Defending against allegations of reckless driving can help you avoid the worst possible consequences.