Florida’s Reckless Driving Laws
Reckless driving is a crime in Florida. The State of Florida defines a reckless driver as one who drives any vehicle in willful disregard for the safety of persons and property. A reckless driving charge may carry misdemeanor or felony penalties. Fleeing in a vehicle from a law enforcement officer is also considered reckless driving.
Carelessness and negligence are not sufficient evidence to prove reckless driving.
Reckless driving has to be willful. Willful refers to purposeful or intentional action. In other words, a reckless driver is indifferent to the consequences of their actions.
Speed alone is also insufficient evidence for reckless driving. However, speed coupled with other factors such as failing to reduce speed before impact or failing to acknowledge traffic control devices may be sufficient evidence to charge a driver with reckless driving.
Consequences for reckless driving in Florida depend on the circumstances. Property damage, the extent of injuries, and prior convictions all influence the penalty received for reckless driving.
If nobody was injured and no property was damaged, then the penalty for reckless driving in Florida is as follows:
- First offense – a fine ranging from $25 – $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
- Any subsequent offenses – a fine ranging from $50 – $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail.
If reckless driving results in property damage and/or minor injuries, the driver could face a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of 1 year in jail. Property damage is considered any type of harm inflicted on someone’s property due to someone else’s negligence.
On the other hand, if reckless driving results in serious bodily injury, the driver could face up to $5,000 in fines and a maximum of 5 years in prison. Serious bodily injury creates a substantial threat of death or impairment to the body.
In Florida, there is also a penalty known as “wet reckless” driving, an offense that involves reckless driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Wet reckless driving is a lesser offense than driving under the influence. Often those charged with a DUI plea bargain for this less serious offense.
According to Florida’s “violent career criminal” and “habitual felony offender” laws, multiple prior convictions may also influence the penalty one receives for reckless driving. Due to the intricacies of these laws, it is never certain how much prison time or fines will be added in the instance of a reckless driver with prior convictions.
With reckless driving cases in Florida, license suspension is at the discretion of criminal courts. However, license suspension may also occur if a driver accumulates too many points due to a reckless driving incident. Florida requires a mandatory license suspension hearing for drivers who accumulate 12 or more points during a one-year period.
Even with laws in place, reckless drivers still pose risks to everyone around them. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by reckless driving, contact 1-800-411-PAIN. We understand how difficult it can be to recover from an injury and accumulate medical bills.
That is why the 1-800-411-PAIN team is here to help you with legal and medical matters every step of the way. Do your part, be a focused driver, and always know that you can call trustworthy medical and legal professionals at 1-800-411-PAIN if you are ever in a car accident.