Penalties of Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania
January 24, 2022
Reckless driving can lead to severe car accidents and expensive charges. Learn more about what behaviors are considered reckless driving and how you can avoid these charges.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is sometimes referred to as aggressive driving. Reckless driving can include a long list of behaviors that lead to unsafe driving. It can include any of the following:
- Unsafe changing lanes
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way
- Failing to stop or yield at signs
- Weaving in and out of traffic quickly
- Failing to reduce speed during inclement weather
Pennsylvania considers any driver to be guilty of reckless driving if they drive a vehicle in a way that disregards the safety of other people or property.
What is Careless Driving?
Careless driving charges are also a possibility in Pennsylvania. Careless driving carries lesser fines and jail time than reckless driving does. The difference between careless driving and reckless driving is intention. If the prosecutor doesn’t believe that the defendant was driving recklessly intentionally, they may charge them with careless driving instead.
The consequences of careless driving can be similar to reckless driving unless the actions lead to an accident. Then, the potential consequences of careless driving are less than reckless driving.
What are the Consequences of Reckless Driving in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania takes a strict stance on reckless driving charges because it is one of the most common causes of accidents. If you’re convicted of reckless driving charged in Pennsylvania, you will be fined a minimum of $200, and your license will be suspended for a minimum of six months.
If reckless driving leads to an accident with injuries, you can expect even more severe legal charges. If there is an injury, the state requires a minimum of a $1,000 legal fine and 90 days in jail. If a reckless driving accident leads to a loss of life, it could lead to fines of up to $25,000 and a minimum jail sentence of one year.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Reckless Driving Charges
Because common traffic violations, including speeding and running a red light, can be considered reckless driving, it can blur the lines and the potential consequences. While you may be guilty of speeding, your behaviors may not warrant the potential consequences of reckless driving charges.
In addition to the legal fines that come with reckless driving, losing your driver’s license for a minimum of six months can be difficult to manage. You may find that it interferes with your ability to go to work or school. You may find that it makes it impossible to manage parenting responsibilities.
If you’re charged and convicted of reckless driving that leads to injuries, you could be met with a minimum jail time. There may be options available to reduce your charges, or even have them dropped. However, you have limited time to explore your options, so it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact an Erie Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Reckless Driving Charges in Pennsylvania
Have you been charged with a traffic offense in Pennsylvania? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Millcreek, Erie, Fairview, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (814) 273-2010 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2525 W 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, in addition to offices located in Meadville and North East, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.