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Reckless Driving

Many people view the ability to drive as a sign of independence. Most teenagers impatiently count the days until they are able to get their first taste of freedom and apply for their driver’s license. Also, many adults depend on the ability to drive for their day to day tasks such as driving to work, running errands or being able to take a leisurely road trip. A lot of responsibility is assumed when an individual takes on the task of driving. The ability to drive and operate a vehicle is a privilege and not a right.

When an individual is granted a driver’s license in the state of Florida, they agree to follow Florida’s traffic laws and regulations. The failure to follow those rules and regulations can result in the loss of the individual’s driver’s license, expensive fines and/or prison time.

Gainesville Reckless Driving Lawyer in FL

If you have been charged with a reckless driving offense in Gainesville, or any of the surrounding areas of Florida, including Ocala, Alachua, and Lake City, contact the Galigani Law Firm. Dean Galigani is knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s motor vehicle and traffic laws and may be able to help you with your alleged reckless driving traffic offense. Call the Reckless Driving attorneys in Gainesville at Galigani Law Firm today for a free consultation at (352) 375-0812. 

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Definition of Reckless Driving Under Florida Law

According to Fla. Stat. § 316.192, reckless driving can occur when an individual drives any vehicle with the intentional disregard for the safety of others or property. Additionally, if an individual flees from a police officer, they can be charged with reckless driving. This is known as reckless driving per se, which means the intent of the individual does not matter. It does not matter if the individual is driving without regard for the safety of others or property; if they flee from a police officer, they can automatically be arrested and charged with reckless driving.

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What Speed is Considered Reckless Driving in FL?

Although speed is an important factor in reckless driving, a person cannot be charged with reckless driving in Florida based off speed alone. Even if you were driving 70 mph in a 40-mph speed zone and was forced to slam on your brakes, it wouldn’t mean you’re guilty of reckless driving. To be charged with reckless driving, you must not only be excessively speeding but also doing other behaviors that prove you wantonly disregarded whether others could be harmed.

The following are examples of behaviors that would be considered reckless driving in conjunction with excessive speeding.

  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Intentionally ignoring the right-of-way for other vehicles or pedestrians
  • Racing other vehicles or law enforcement
  • Swerving, swaying, not staying in one lane
  • Driving past public transport recklessly
  • Texting or doing other distracting behaviors while driving at excessive speeds

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Careless Driving in Gainesville

Reckless driving is not the same offense as careless driving. Careless driving is the failure to drive in a careful and sensible manner, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.1925. Careless driving is a lesser offense, and if reckless driving cannot be proven, an individual may be charged with careless driving. A conviction for careless driving can result in community service and/or fines.

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Penalties for Reckless Driving Under Florida Law

The penalties for reckless driving in Florida can be found in Fla. Stat. § 316.192 and can vary depending on the particulars of each case. For their first reckless driving offense, an individual can be punished with a fine between $25 and $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail, or not more than 6 months of probation.

If a second or subsequent offense occurs, an individual can be punished with a fine between $50 and $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail or probation.

If damage to property occurs as the result of reckless driving, the penalty can severely increase. An individual can be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is punishable by a fine between $25 and $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail or probation.

If serious bodily injury to another individual occurs because of a reckless driving offense, the individual can be charged with a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in a Florida state prison and/or a fine up to $5,000. Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that can result in death or the disfigurement or impairment of a body part, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.192.

If an individual is considered a habitual felony reckless driver under Fla. Stat. §775.084, sentencing can include:

  • A prison term of 10 years,
  • A prison term of 10 years without eligibility for parole for the first five years, or
  • A prison term of 15 years with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

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Can You Get Reckless Driving Expunged in Florida?

The aftermath of a criminal conviction can last for years and effect your future employment or housing opportunities. Thankfully, you can get your reckless driving charges off your criminal record if you are eligible to seal or expunge your criminal charges. A sealed record is inaccessible to the public, but some entities can search up your charges if they have the right authorization. An expunged record, on the other hand, cannot be seen by anyone, even government entities. The only information they can access is the record was expunged.

You can only have your reckless driving charge expunged or sealed if your case resulted in one of the following outcomes: your adjudication was withheld, the case was dismissed, or you were found not guilty at trial. That is why it’s imperative you secure legal representation and not plead guilty or no contest without advice from counsel. Your attorney can utilize their extensive knowledge in criminal law to help you avoid a conviction and therefore minimize future collateral consequences that could harm your career and personal life.

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How Many Points Is Reckless Driving in Florida?

The department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) determines traffic related driver’s license suspensions by a points system. The points are assigned to a driver if they receive a ticket or are arrested for a moving violation. Accruing too many points in a certain period can result in the driver’s license being revoked or suspended.

In Florida, if you’re convicted of reckless driving you will have 4 points imposed on your license. Take note, this is one of the highest points amounts a person can be given for a moving violation. Two more 4-point moving violations added to your record in a 12-month period could result in a suspension of up to 30 days. Having 18 points within an 18-month period will result in a 3-month suspension period. Lastly, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 12 months if you accumulated 24 points in a 36-month period.

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Reckless Driving Attorney in Alachua County, Florida

Contact the Galigani Law Firm today to discuss the particular circumstances regarding your alleged driving offense. Dean Galigani is an experienced Gainesville criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals throughout Alachua County in Florida. Contact the  at (352) 375-0812 for a consultation about your alleged reckless driving offense throughout Florida, including Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County.

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