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Tampa Family Lawyer > Blog > Traffic Offense > Understanding Reckless Driving Charges In Florida

Understanding Reckless Driving Charges In Florida


Reckless driving is a traffic offense in Florida. It is a serious violation. Indeed, reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense in the state. An arrest and conviction for reckless driving in Florida could even lead to prison time. You can defend yourself against a reckless driving charge. In this article, our Tampa traffic offense attorney provides a guide to reckless driving charges in Florida.

The Law: Reckless Driving Charges in Florida

Reckless driving charges are filed under Florida Statutes § 316.192. Under the statute the term “reckless driving” is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle while displaying “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. In other words, reckless driving is driving in a criminally dangerous manner.

A person who drives in a negligent manner in Florida could potentially be civilly liable for a serious accident. However, ordinary negligence is not sufficient to establish guilt for reckless driving in Florida. To be convicted of a reckless driving charge, a defendant must intentionally put others at risk or operate a vehicle with true indifference to the well-being of persons or property.

The Penalties for Reckless Driving Vary Based on the Case 

Were you charged with reckless driving of an automobile in Tampa? If so, the criminal sanctions that you will face depend, in part, on the individual circumstances of the case, including your history and whether or not a wreck occurred. The penalties for reckless driving in Florida are as follows:

  • A First-Time Reckless Driving Offense: A second degree misdemeanor criminal offense. Maximum penalty is 90 days in jail.
  • A Second-Time Reckless Driving Offense: A second degree misdemeanor criminal offense. Maximum penalty is 180 days in jail.
  • A Reckless Driving Offense (Accident): A first degree misdemeanor criminal offense. Maximum penalty is one year in jail.
  • A Reckless Driving Offense (Serious Injury or Fatality): A third degree felony criminal offense. Maximum penalty is five years in prison. 

You Have the Right to Defend Yourself Against Reckless Driving Charges in Florida 

A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. Every person accused of reckless driving in Hillsborough County, FL has the right to defend themselves in court. The most sensible defense strategy against a reckless driving charge depends entirely on the underlying facts of the case. A Tampa, FL traffic offense lawyer with experience handling reckless driving cases can help you protect your rights, your ability to drive, and your freedom. 

Call Our Tampa Reckless Driving Defense Attorney Today

At Faulkner Law Group, PLLC, our Tampa traffic offense lawyer has the professional skills and legal experience to take on the full spectrum of reckless driving cases. If you or your family member was charged with reckless driving, we can help. Contact our law firm today for a free, confidential case review. From our Tampa office, we handle reckless driving charges throughout Hillsborough County, including in Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, University, Ruskin, Citrus Park, and Tempe Terrace.



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