Sparse traffic on the roads during the coronavirus pandemic has spawned a spike in speeding and other types of reckless driving according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). For example, in Southern California, cars are going as much as 30% faster on some streets, prompting changes to traffic lights and pedestrian walk signals. In other areas, there may be lower crash rates, but the collisions are more serious.
But drivers aren’t just speeding on the emptier roads – they are also braking harder, using their cell phones longer and in general more distracted when behind the wheel. Regardless of how a motorist is reckless, it can result in serious fines and punishment under California law.
Consequences of Reckless Driving
Punishment for reckless driving under California law varies depending on the facts of the accident. But some common consequences include:
- Monetary fines. Depending on the extent of damages caused, the monetary fines can run up to thousands of dollars. Under California law, fines are not uniform for reckless driving, which means that the fines may vary from county to county.
- Penalties. California reckless driving laws do, however, impose uniform penalties for convictions of this charge. In most cases, two points are added on your driving record for a reckless driving conviction. The length of time the points will remain on your driving record depends on the severity of the offense. Different points are added for minors and individuals possessing commercial driving licenses.
- Jail time. Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor in California. Nevertheless, a conviction may result jail time for up to 90 days for a first time offense, and up to 6 months for a repeat offense.
- Suspension or revocation of driving privileges.Another major consequence of a reckless driving conviction is the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. In imposing this punishment, the authority making the decision will consider various factors, including the severity of your offense and whether you are a first-time or repeat offender.
- Increase in insurance premium. If you are convicted on reckless driving charges, insurance carriers will generally consider you to be a high risk driver. This will in turn result in the carrier demanding a higher insurance premium for insuring your vehicle.
In addition to these five main consequences, a reckless driving conviction can impact your ability to secure a job, loan or housing because the conviction can paint you as a careless and unsafe person.
If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving, you need to take every step possible to avoid a conviction. The best way to prevent a conviction is to hire a reckless driving defense attorney who is well-versed with California traffic laws to help you get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Reckless Driving Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested for reckless driving, it is important to seek immediate legal assistance. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558.